By Amanda DiPaolo
It took 9 seconds for the St. Louis Blues to get on the scoreboard in front of 16 603 fans at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night and that first minute goal would carry the Blues into overtime. Andy McDonald scored his sixth goal of the season from Alex Pietrangelo and Brad Boyes. While Nashville dominated the final two periods of play, they would be unable to take the two points, losing in a shootout.
“I wish we could take back that first shift,” Jerred Smithson said of the goal. “Nine seconds in — I know it did take a funny hop but that can’t happen. If we could have kept that one out, we would have probably won the game.”
After the first period, shots were hard to come by with the Predators registering 8 shots on goal to the Blues 5. Despite the low shot count, Nashville was able to fight their way back into the game after the early goal, but couldn’t convert on any of the opportunities. Francis Bouillon found himself in the slot but couldn’t get the puck past Jaroslav Halak less than two minutes into the game. Colin Wilson was able to split the defense but didn’t even get a shot on goal. And Nashville’s one first period power play was unsuccessful, despite looking good.
The Predators tendency as of late to take unnecessary penalties continued in the first period. Kevin Klein was called for interference with 13:47 left in the first period. As soon as the penalty was over, the Predators went straight back on the penalty kill. Erat was called for a high stick on Nikita Nikitin with 9:45 left to play.
Nashville got its first power play when Patrik Berglund got called for tripping Jordin Tootoo with 5:06 left in the period. The 29th ranked team on the power play with less than 10% success rate, Nashville was unable to convert on their first man advantage, they didn’t go without legitimate scoring chances. The first power play unit consisted of Marcel Goc centering Steve Sullivan and Patrick Hornqvist, a change from previous games.
The Predators came out swinging in the second period and tied the game 22 seconds into the middle frame. Jerred Smithson banged in a rebound from a Joel Ward shot into an empty net, with Halak way out of position. It was Smithson’s second goal of the season.
Nashville then dominated play, not allowing the Blues to get a shot on goal until 10:53 minutes had already expired in the period. It was a minor call for holding the stick on O’Brien at 10:20 that gave the Blues their first shot on goal.
The Predators also had a lot of chances with three offensive takeaways within the first 6 minutes. Martin Erat and Nick Spaling each had a takeaway but were unable to pass to any open Predator players. Steve Sullivan was also sprung behind the Blues defense but was unable to get a shot on goal.
Predators captain Shea Weber believed the team played well enough to win. “It was just one of those games where we couldn’t produce anything offensively. There is nothing else you can say — we needed to score goals.”
There was no scoring in the third period of play, though Nashville did have two power play chances.
The Blues won in a shootout on a goal by Andy McDonald, the same Blues player who scored on the first shift of the game.
The Predators outshot the Blues 30-15 but were unable to convert any of their chances into goals. Predators forward Joel Ward said about the game “I think the hockey gods got us today. It was unfortunate but it is something that happens once in a while. We played well enough to win the hockey game but obviously the end result — we didn’t get the two points.”
On Friday, the Predators now face the Minnesota Wild for the first of four meetings this season. Nashville returns home on Saturday to take on the New York Rangers for their one meeting of the season.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The next Predators home game is Saturday, November 27th when the Preds take on the New York Rangers at Bridgestone Arena. Come see Sean Avery in person!
Topics: Alex Pietrangelo, Andy McDonald, Brad Boyes, Colin Wilson, Francis Bouillon, Jaroslav Halak, Jerred Smithson, Jordin Tootoo, Kevin Klein, Martin Erat, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, NHL, Nikita Nikitin, Patric Hornqvist, Patrik Berglund, Sean Avery, St. Louis Blues