Nashville Predators: Reasons for Overtime Win Against The Blues

Nov 11, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Nashville Predators celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Blues in overtime at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Nashville Predators celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Blues in overtime at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators emerged with a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night in St. Louis. It was a back and forth affair, as the Predators overcame an early 2-0 deficit yet still had to finish the game in overtime, where Matt Duchene won it.

It was a typical Predators game, as it was ugly more than a few times throughout the night, but they shined when they had to and got the job done. It was not easy, but it was gutsy, determined, and resilient, and wins like this are continuing to help them forge the identity they created midway through last season.

The Predators have now won five straight against the Blues dating back to the 2019-2020 season, and this was their first meeting since February 16, 2020. Let’s get into the three main areas that fueled the win against their hated division foe.

Matt Duchene’s resurgence continues for the Nashville Predators

Is it refreshing or what to say that Matt Duchene is finally living up to his contract? The dude is on absolute fire as of late, and he solidified his momentum last night with quite possibly his best game in a Predators uniform.

Just 17 seconds into the second period, he fired a snipe almost immediately after receiving the puck in the slot, which was extremely critical in turning the momentum in the Predators’ favor. Then, just a few minutes later, he made a gorgeous no-look backhand pass to Luke Kunin, who was set up in front to bury the puck and did just that. And in overtime, he would bury a feed from Mikael Granlund on a two-on-one, which would end the game right there.

Duchene is already up to eight goals in 14 games this season. For reference, he had six goals in 34 games last season and just 13 games in 66 games the year prior. Predators fans were rightfully disappointed by his lack of production and impact in the year prior, and he has rewarded them and the team with a statement year so far.

With more opportunity and more stability, Duchene is showing why David Poile gave him $8M per year in the 2019 offseason. He controls play more, gets more opportunities, and has the numbers to show for his performance. So maybe the experiment is not a failed one just yet.

Don’t forget the rest of Duchene’s line

It is not just that the players on this line had great nights. In fact, the chemistry between Duchene, Granlund, and Kunin was maybe even better. The first goal was a quick give and go between the trio that put Duchene in a prime scoring position, and the second was the beautiful backhand pass from Duchene to Kunin that was executed to perfection.

But yes, every player on this line had a great night statistically, as Kunin tallied two points, and Granlund had an epic outing with four helpers, which was a first for the veteran forward.

Granlund was especially impactful on the third and fourth goals, as a steal at center ice put the Predators in position to score the third, and he drove the fast break on the game-winner.

Head Coach John Hynes may have hit the jackpot with this line because with how Duchene is playing and how they looked last night, there is no way they should be broken up anytime soon. Hopefully, Hynes does not make his job harder than it has to be.

A successful debut for David Rittich

Last night was the first night for David Rittich to see action for the Predators, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. He may have let in three goals, but do not let that overshadow the fact that he kept the team in this game with his performance.

He made several key saves in the first, as the Predators were under siege for much of it and gave the Blues some quality looks. He also made three jaw-dropping saves in the second and third periods and had another critical save in overtime.

It has been a rough go-around for Rittich so far this season, as he has spent most of the year on the COVID list so far. He was undoubtedly anxious to get his first start with his new team, and after tonight, they have every reason to believe that they still have an abundance of quality goaltenders to choose from now and in the future.

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