Blues Defeat Predators 3-2, That’s 5 in a Row

(Photo Credit: Jeff Curry / USA Today)

The Predators came to town to play the Blues on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Binnington and St. Louis had just shutout the league-best Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. Nashville had an OT win themselves over the Dallas Stars then as well.  Both teams had won 5 of their last 6, but St. Louis carried a 4 game winning streak into this one. Nashville beat Arizona on Tuesday so they’d won 2 in a row.

St. Louis held the 2nd Wild Card spot with 55 points. They were tied with the Vancouver Canucks but had 3 games in hand. The Blues were 2 points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche with 1 game in hand. The Edmonton Oilers were 2 points behind St. Louis and had played 2 more games. The Blues had 3 games in hand on the Chicago Blackhawks who were also 2 points behind. St. Louis led Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, and Los Angeles Kings by 4 or 5 points with 2 or 3 games in hand as well.

Blues fans would hope the New Jersey Devils could beat the Minnesota Wild in regulation. If that were to happen, and the Blues could win against Nashville, they’d climb up to the 1st Wild Card spot. They’d also like the Calgary Flames to beat the Vancouver Canucks to put some space between them. A Colorado Avalanche loss to the New York Islanders was on the wish list. St. Louis would also prefer the San Jose Sharks beat the Edmonton Oilers.

This was the first of a Home & Home series between Nashville and St. Louis.

They’ll face off again Sunday, 11:30 AM (CT) at Bridgestone Arena.

Team Records

  • Blues: (25-22-5)
  • Predators: (33-19-4)

Craig Berube didn’t change a thing. He went with the same lineup from Tampa Bay.

Forward Lines

  1. Schenn, O’Reilly, Tarasenko
  2. Schwartz, Bozak, Steen
  3. Sanford, Sundqvist, Maroon
  4. MacEachern, Barbashev, Thomas

Defensive Pairings

  1. Edmundson, Pietrangelo
  2. Bouwmeester, Parayko
  3. Dunn, Bortuzzo

Healthy Scratch: Robby Fabbri

Injured: David Perron (upper body), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body)

Starting Goaltenders

St. Louis – Jordan Binnington: (8-1-1, 1.70 GAA, .931 SP)

Nashville – Pekka Rinne: (19-13-3, 2.47 GAA, .914 SP)

Goals Scored: Vince Dunn, Vladimir Tarasenko, Mattias Ekholm, Mackenzie MacEachern, Ryan Johansen

Three Stars

  1. Vladimir Tarasenko
  2. Jordan Binnington
  3. Robert Thomas

Game Summary

1st Period

Cody McLeod and Pat Maroon went at it a little over 2 minutes into the period. Big Rig went to work.

At 4:37, Vince Dunn was able to follow up, grab his own rebound and tuck it in past Pekka Rinne. Robert Thomas and Oskar Sundqvist registered assists on the play. That’s Dunn’s 7th goal of the season.

The Blues went on the Power Play at 7:72 after Craig Smith took Oskar Sundqvist down with his knee. Tarasenko would put the only shot on goal and Rinne had an answer for it. Vince Dunn saw a great opportunity but shot wide of the net.

The Predators’ best chance was when Filip Forsberg set up Viktor Arvidsson at Binnington’s back door but the puck went wide. Binnington then made a solid save on a P.K. Subban backhand from the slot.

With 8 minutes remaining, Shots on goal were 9-6 in favor of Nashville. The majority of faceoffs were being won by the Predators with 69%. Hits were 7-6 in favor of the Predators. Blocked shots, 4-3 in favor of St. Louis.

Jordan Binnington made a key save on a wrist shot by Craig Smith with 5:34 left in the period.

Vladimir Tarasenko was able to score at 18:45 with a wrister from the slot. It was a great no-look backhand feed by Brayden Schenn. That’s Tarasenko’s 19th goal of the season. He extends his point streak to 7 games.

The period ended with shots on goal tied at 12. Nashville was outhitting the Blues 14-8 and winning 57% of the draws. The Blues went 0-1 on the Power Play, but they looked good. I noticed great cycles in the offensive zone by the Sanford, Sundqvist, Maroon line.

I think the O’Reilly, Schenn, and Tarasenko line ought to stick together for a while, eh? I really like Brayden Schenn on the wing. Vince Dunn played a really good 1st period and looked to be in the zone. Jordan Binnington was calm and cool, continuing to impress St. Louis and the NHL.

2nd Period

Early, Schwartz saw a one on one opportunity but had the puck knocked away before he could make an attempt. The guy can’t catch a break. He later took some shots wide of the net.

Pat Maroon was playing a solid game thus far. He took a good wrister on Pekka from the circle but didn’t cash in. He nearly created an opportunity for Sundqvist on the rebound. Moments later, Maroon set up Robert Bortuzzo in the slot but Rinne said no. Regardless, he was playing well.

St. Louis put the first 5 shots on goal in the first 4:30. Nashville remained shotless until Calle Jarnkrok slapped one at Binnington just over 5 minutes in. Jordan made the save with his glove.

Oskar Sundqvist was called for tripping at 5:57 to put the Predators on their first Power Play. Ryan Johansen nearly scored on a wide-open net when Jordan Binnington dropped down way early. Johansen was sweeping in on the right wing and fortunately shot over the net. This was a for sure goal otherwise.

Mattias Ekholm was able to score a Power Play goal at 7:28. Ekholm wristed a shot from the left wing. Jordan Binnington was down just a bit early and back, committed to the right post. The puck bounced off of Jordan’s arm and went in the net far side.

At 10:58, Mackenzie MacEachern was able to put one past Pekka Rinne to put the Blues up 3-1. Colton Parayko, laying down, made a solid one on one effort to poke check the puck away from Johansen. On the other end, Robert Thomas let a shot go from the right circle. Oskar Sundqvist tipped the puck on goal and proceeded to pressure. Mac Mac finished it off in grinding fashion. Great job by the entire line.

The Blues went on their 2nd Power Play when Nick Bonino was called for holding Tyler Bozak behind the Blues net at 14:03. St. Louis had their chances but didn’t finish. Ryan O’Reilly and Jaden Schwartz were denied by Rinne. Colton Parayko shot wide of the net twice.

Jordan Binnington made a great save when Brian Boyle attempted a wrap-around.

The Blues outshot the Predators 18-6 in the second period. Shots on goal were 30-18 in favor of St. Louis. Now, the Blues were winning 53% of the faceoffs. Nashville was still outhitting St. Louis 21-15.

3rd Period

Binnington made saves on Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg.

5 and a half minutes in, Vladimir Tarasenko skated in behind the defense but shot just wide of the net.

St. Louis went on their third Power Play. Kyle Turris went to the box for interfering with Jaden Schwartz. The Blues, however, failed to put a shot on goal with the man advantage.

Schwartz saw a 2 on one opportunity with Robert Thomas. He chose to shoot and he missed the net.

Binnington made a good save on Brian Boyle with his blocker with about 5:30 remaining.

Ivan Barbashev went to the locker room in the 3rd period but returned minutes later. It seemed he was having his skate repaired.

Nashville pulled Pekka Rinne with 2:40 left for the extra attacker. Jaden Schwartz had an opportunity to put it in the empty net and missed. Very shortly after, Marcus Johansen scored to decrease the deficit to 1. Jaden Schwartz has to score there. The Nashville goal was assisted by Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi.

The Blues held on to finish. They’ve now won 5 in a row. The 5 on 5 play has been great, and if the Blues can pull the Power Play together on a regular, they’ll be one dangerous team playing like this.

Jordan Binnington stopped 29 of 31 Nashville shots. The Ekholm goal he’d like to have back, but it didn’t rattle him at all.

Please pray for Jaden Schwartz.

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