Friday, October 15, 2010
The Nashville Predators Remain Undefeated as They Defeat the St. Louis Blues 4-3
The Nashville Predators survived a divisional battle with a pesky St. Louis Blues team and came away with a 4-3 win at the Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night to go to 3-0 on the season.
Steve Sullivan had two first period goals and Cal O'Reilly added three assists to lead the Predators in a game that was not decided until time expired. Patric Hornqvist scored what was eventually the game winning goal on the man advantage late in the second period.
Anders Lindback survived the Blues' 35 shot attack to claim his second victory in as many nights. Lindback scrambled at times but persisted and made several quality saves during the third period when the Blues out shot the Preds 12-2.
Lindback was humble after the game, "The team should have a real big piece of it. They are doing a great job and I feel really comfortable with these guys in front of me."
The Predator's power play accounted for two goals on three opportunities, including Sullivan's first goal and the game winner from Hornqvist. The penalty kill had a rough evening, giving up two goals in five opportunities.
Barry Trotz was pleased with the progress on the power play, "They are shooting the puck, working at it, and taking ownership as a group. It's a good start. We still have lots of work to do with it, they've got the right idea."
The Predators came out at the start of the game with plenty of jump and kept pressure on the Blues for most of the first period. Marcel Goc scored 56 seconds into the game to give the Preds a quick 1-0 lead.
Shane O'Brien got into his first scrap as a Predator four minutes into the game when he dropped the gloves with B.J. Crombeen.
At 10:08 in the first, Brad Boyes was called for holding and then 10 seconds later Eric Brewer was called for a delay of game to put the Preds on the five on three man advantage. Steve Sullivan responded with a goal after Ryan Suter faked a shot and then slid a smooth pass over to Sullivan who found the empty side of the net.
The Blues came right back and scored two minutes later on a goal by Matt D'Agostini. Fifteen seconds later, Sullivan scored again, this time from the face off circle on O'Reilly's pass from tt.
The first period ended with a 3-1 lead for the Predators. Steve Sullivan almost complete the hat trick as he had a breakaway as time expired. Steve Sullivan commented on the missed third goal, "I probably could have iced it for the rest of the game had I scored on that one. Hat tricks are nice but wins are more important."
Trotz was pleased with the fast start, "I was really concerned about the start tonight. Early in the season when you play your first back to backs, and we had a big win in Chicago, your body's not quite used to the adrenalin crash and how it affects you. We didn't have great legs in the last 30 minutes but it was enough to get by."
The Predators did appear to wear down in the second and third periods. It was a masterful job that they had enough left to survive better play from the Blues.
The Blues cut the Preds lead to one at 8:15 in the second when T. J. Oshie had an unassisted man advantage goal after picking up a loose puck in front of the net.
Patric Hornqvist responded with the game winning power play goal at the 16:21 mark. Jaroslav Halak stopped the initial shot from Cal O'Reilly but Hornqvist managed to grab a rebound and punch it into the net.
The final goal of the evening came at 5:23 in the third when Ryan Reaves scored a power play goal to make the score 4-3. The Blues got the man advantage when a scuffle occurred after a clean hit by Jordin Tootoo. The ruling on the ice that saddled Tootoo with a double minor while the Blues only received one roughing penalty was not clear.
The remainder of the game was basically the Predators gutting through fatigue to claim the victory as time expired on a gallant six on four effort by the Blues after Joel Ward's tripping call with 63 seconds left in regulation.
Matt Lombardi was scratched for an upper body injury and Sergei Kostitsyn played his first game as a Predator in his place. "Kostitsyn is not 100% but he's battling through it," according to Trotz. Marty Erat was ruled out for Saturday with his upper body injury.
In the first three games Trotz says he has learned, "about our backup goalie, not only for today, tomorrow, or the rest of the year but also for the next few years. We have Anders, Mark Dekanich and Pekka, thats a pretty good stable, and we also have Chet Pickard."
Shea Weber's reign as captain is a perfect 3-0 so far, "We don't have any superstars so everyone's got to buy into the system, play a role and do a job to win here."
"We won a game against St. Louis," Trotz said in summary. "We can pat ourselves on the back for about an hour and then get ready for Washington."
The Predators will practice on Friday to get ready for their game with the Washington Capitals on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass