Another shootout loss goes in the books for the Nashville Predators as two games into the season, they have lost in the shootout twice. The St. Louis Blues get another win as Vladimir Tarasenko shows his skills to the city of Nashville. It was a much better played game by the Predators as the rust and sloppiness is now out of the equation. “Today was a man’s game, Saturday was a preseason game,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “We were a lot better in a lot of areas. St. Louis is probably the best team [in the Western Conference]. If we capitalize, we probably win the game.”
There was no lack of excitement to start the first period. Richard Clune wasted no time to make his mark in his first debut with the Predators. At 2:19 in, Clune made an explosive hit-from-behind on former Predator Scott Nichol. Luckily, Clune didn’t receive a major or even a game misconduct for that hit.
The scoring started with Colin Wilson receiving a great pass by Patric Hornqvist entering the Blues’ zone. “I saw him in the middle and hit him. Willy made a good shot top corner,” said Hornqvist. Not long after, the Russian phenom Vladimir Tarasenko scored to tie the game at one. Pekka Rinne wasn’t able to handle the shot and the puck squirted past him at 10:28.
Tarasenko was back at again drawing a penalty this time on David Legwand for hooking. Legwand hauled Tarasenko down while he was breaking towards the net with a down and out Rinne. However, the Blues were able to capitalize on the power play with Tarasenko assisting on Andy McDonald’s goal at 15:04. A nice pass by Tarasenko in the corner to a wide-open Andy McDonald in the high slot was able to score over a sprawling Rinne to take the lead, for a short time.
The Predators were able to take advantage of a power play themselves with David Perron in the penalty box for slashing. Nifty passing by Martin Erat to Mike Fisher allowed him to score off a one-timer breaking into the slot to tie the game at one.
In the second period, the St. Louis Blues were playing with fire taking three penalties and allowing the Predators to go on the power play three times. The Predators were successful on only one, but the first attempt in the period was very impressive. A backhander by Patric Hornqvist at 12:53 put Nashville on top for the second time in the game. It only took 22 seconds on the power play before the Preds left their mark. That was the last shot Jaroslav Halak faced of the night and Brian Elliot came into the game.
“We were skating better in 2nd period,” said associate coach Peter Horachek. “We went more north and south.”
It wasn’t Nick Spaling’s night as he hit the post twice in the game. The most notable occurred in the third alone in the slot and rang off the post, out of play. Later, Alex Pietrangelo made the Predators pay on the power play scoring with almost no angle over the shoulder of Rinne to tie the game up at three halfway through the third. That goal led the game to overtime, where teams were scoreless. Rinne was able to make the game go into a shootout with a huge stop on TJ Oshie on his back with 47 seconds that lifted Smashville to their feet.
Brian Elliot was up to the task in stopping both Predators shooters—Smith and Erat—while Oshie and Steen were able to slip the puck past Rinne. Elliot came up big in the second part of the game to lead the Blues to continue their unbeaten streak. “Shootout decided the game,” said Trotz.
Line Up Report
#35 Pekka Rinne
#1 Brian Elliot
#41 Jaroslav Halak*
Predators Scratches: #28 C Paul Gaustad (upper-body) and #7 D Jonathon Blum
Blues Scratches: #6 D Wade Redden (immigration issue), #15 W Jamie Langenbrunner, #29 D Jeff Woywitka and #36 W Matt D’Agostini
Paul Gaustad Injury: Before the game, it was released an hour before puck drop that forward Paul Gaustad would be out with an upper body injury. Trotz said after the game his return for Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild is questionable. In his place, Richard Clune was able to make his debut in a gold sweater.
Rinne Doing Too Much: Throughout the game, Pekka Rinne was overplaying the puck, playing similarly to the Saturday night game against Columbus. Playing the puck behind the net was leaving Rinne out of position and causing turnovers with the net wide open. Goalie coach Mitch Korn should have a talk with him about his puck handling because it is just too much.
Preds Wary of Blues Power Play: Entering this game, the Nashville Predators knew who they were facing, a team that defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-0 on opening night. They were also aware of their scoring capability and how that translates into a good power play. Monday night, the Blues went 50% (1 for 2) on the power play.
Hornqvist and Horachek both said, “They have a dangerous power play.” The coaches let them know and it was up to the penalty killing to shut them down. The penalty killing units did their job for the most part. Pietrangelo’s lone power play goal was just a good shot that no one can place blame on, except for the lack of coverage.
The Nashville Predators were 2 for 6 in the game and 3 for 7 so far this season. “We were taking what they were giving us,” said Horachek. Trotz focused on the power play last season and the season ended with Nashville ranked first on the power play. This season, they hope to repeat their same success.
Goals and Assists
1-0 NSH: Colin Wilson – Hornqvist and Ellis at 9:10 in the 1st
1-1 Tied: Vladimir Tarasenko – McDonald and Shattenkirk at 10:28 in the 1st
2-1 STL: PP Andy McDonald – Tarasenko and Shattenkirk (2) at 15:04 in the 1st
2-2 Tied: PP Mike Fisher – Wilson and Hornqvist (2) at 17:13 in the 1st
3-2 NSH: PP Patric Hornqvist – Erat and Fisher at 12:53 in the 2nd
3-3 Tied: Alex Pietrangelo – Tarasenko (2) and Schwartz at 12:10 in the 3rd
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Vladimir Tarasenko: Goal & 2 Assists
2. Patric Hornqvist: Goal & 2 Assists
3. Colin Wilson: Goal & Assist