Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 2/24/12

On Thursday night, the Nashville Predators lost in a shootout to the St. Louis Blues by a 3-2 score. It was the first time in five games this season that the Blues were able to best Nashville. However, it was the second consecutive game that Nashville came out flat.

On Tuesday, the Predators were able to keep the Canucks off the scoreboard during the first period and while the shots in goal read 11-12 in favor of the Canucks, Nashville didn’t seem ready to play. The result was that Vancouver controlled much of the play.

Thursday’s opening period against the Blues was very similar, but the Predators were only able to muster six shots on goal, and three came in the final four minutes of the period. The Blues also took a 1-0 lead off a goal from Chris Stewart, his 13th of the season.

Predators forward Sergei Kostitsyn says Nashville was not ready for the game to start. “It was the same thing that happened as last game. We just weren’t ready for the first period. We played much better in the second and third periods. We need to be more focused in the first period during our games.”

Head Coach Barry Trotz agrees. “I thought our start wasn’t good today, and one of the things I believe in is good teams in this League demand a certain level of work, a certain level of detail, and a certain level of physicality to beat them. In the first period, against Vancouver on Tuesday, and this game, we weren’t as ready for that as we need to be. I thought the second and third periods we were fine,” he said.

Nashville tied the game early in the second period when Roman Josi scored on a 2-on-1 with Brandon Yip. It was Josi’s third goal of the season. Matt Halischuk picked up the secondary assist.

Colin Wilson picked up his 13th goal of the season, making it 2-1 Nashville, when his backhanded shot beat Jaroslav Halak at 12:52 of the middle frame, but the Blues responded 34 seconds later when Vladimir Sobotka scored his fourth goal of the season.

With the game tied at 2-2, St. Louis and Nashville went to overtime for the 23rd time in franchise history. With no goal allowed, the teams competed in the shootout. Both T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald scored for St. Louis. Colin Wilson and Martin Erat were stopped by Halak.

Kostitsyn says the games between Nashville and the Blues are always close because St. Louis places emphasis on defense. “They are a very good defensive team. They’ve allowed the fewest goals in the League. We always have tight games against them. We had some chances but we just didn’t score. It happens.They go back on defense very quick, therefore they pressure us from behind. We have to go wide and take shots and get rebounds. We tried too many passes in the middle.”

While the Predators now need to look ahead to Saturday’s home game against San Jose, Kostitsyn says one point just wasn’t enough. “We got one point, but if we take two points that is even better. We are chasing them. We were behind by a few points before this game. It was very important to get two points.”

With the Blues win and the Predators shootout loss, the Blues are now ahead of the Predators in the Western Conference standings by four points.

 

 

Photo credit: Getty Images

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