Nashville Predators’ penalty-kill shines against the Blues

(Photo by Russell/NHL via Getty Images)
(Photo by Russell/NHL via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators are thankful for their penalty killers after scoring twice while being down a man to help beat the St. Louis Blues.

Three different Preds got their first goal of the season and the Nashville Predators dominated the St. Louis Blues 4-1 in Nashville Wednesday night. Pekka Rinne passed Miikka Kiprusoff for first all-time in wins by a Finnish goaltender, adding to a solid Thanksgiving Eve win for the Preds.

Frederick Gaudreau started the scoring when he found the back of the net at 6:14 in the first period on a play that all started with Kevin FIala doing some good work to get the puck in the zone and then feed it back to Yannick Weber and Anthony Bitetto, who took a shot that rebounded to Gaudreau for his first regular-season NHL goal.

A little over six minutes later, the Blues got a 1st goal of their own, when Robert Thomas fired one past Pekka Rinne for the first of his NHL career.

The second period was a back and forth affair with not a ton of action, but the Predators would pick up the pace before Kevin Fiala would be sent to the penalty box to serve a minor for too many men on the ice.  Filip Forsberg made sure it didn’t slow the Preds, though. He forced a turnover and found himself on a breakaway with Jake Allen. Not many goaltenders win that battle, and Allen didn’t either. Forsberg lit the lamp shorthanded to put the Preds in front 2-1. Pekka RInne made some big saves to keep the Predators in the lead and the teams headed into the locker room with the Blues trailing.

The third period saw the Blues working their way back into the game, but they couldn’t find the goal to make it happen. About halfway through the period, Austin Watson forced a turnover in the Blues’ zone and fired a wrist shot towards the net. The shot deflected off something in front of Jake Allen and tickled the twine to send the Preds to a commanding 3-1 lead.

The Blues would pull Jake Allen with a 4-on-3 power play to make it a 5-on-3, but it backfired right away. As a Blues shot missed the net and wound up in the Blues’ zone for Ryan Ellis to tally his first goal of the season, a shorthanded goal, making the score 4-1 in favor of the Predators. Which is how the game would end.

Ellis kicked the monkey off his back and the teams earned their third consecutive win.

The Predators power play was 0 for 3 on the night but the penalty kill held the Blues power play to zero goals on four power-play opportunities. The penalty kill helped the Predators cause on the offensive end as well, scoring twice shorthanded: first to take the lead and second to put the game out of reach.

The Predators out-shot the Blues 34 to 29 in shots on goal and had 16 takeaways on the night. Filip Forsberg led all skaters with seven shots on goal and four takeaways.

The Predators will have some time to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday before they travel to St. Louis later in the day for their re-match with the Blues on Friday.

Three Stars:

3rd Star – Filip Forsberg – 1 goal

2nd Star – Pekka Rinne – 28 saves

1st Star – Frederick Gaudreau – 1 goal

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Not the order I would have picked the three stars, to be honest, but the Predators won, Pekka Rinne is the all-time best Finnish goaltender, and we get to pig out to celebrate and be thankful for Thanksgiving.