Klim Kostin (37) scored his first career goal in a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators. (Photo courtesy: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports)
UPDATE: Pietrangelo’s goal on Saturday was credited the next day to Jaden Schwartz. Pietrangelo was credited with the primary assist.
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Blues (14-5-5) got off to a bad start and couldn’t get a comeback finish in a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators (10-9-3). The Blues immediately got off to a horrendous start when Nashville scored 20 seconds in. Things didn’t get any better in St. Louis, when the Predators riddled Jordan Binnington with 10 unanswered shots in less than 4 minutes.
They would score again, just 3:40 in, to make it 2-0. The Blues got angry and physical in response, and later in the first period Klim Kostin scored his first NHL goal to cut the lead. It wouldn’t last, unfortunately: Colton Sissons scored late in the first to make it 3-1 after just one period.
Neither team would score in the second period, and the Blues looked sluggish on the ice, but Binnington remained poised as ever. They would find their legs thanks to his performance in the third period, and Alex Pietrangelo buried the 100th goal of his career to cut the lead late in the game. Unfortunately, Jarnkrok buried the empty-netter and Nashville skated off with a 4-2 win.
The Predators got their first win in 7 games, but the Blues can strike back on Monday when they play again in Nashville at 7pm CT.
Despite Nashville’s slow starts in recent games, they got off to a hot one. 20 seconds after the opening draw, Victor Arvidsson launched a shot that deflected perfectly to the other dot, and right on Filip Forsberg’s tape.
Forsberg’s fortunate bounce made it 1-0 early in the game, and they didn’t sit back. Nashville laid a barrage onto Jordan Binnington, registering 10 unanswered shots in less than five minutes. The turnovers quickly mounted for St. Louis, and it bit them again. Mattias Ekholm flung a shot to the net from a bad angle that ping-ponged off both Blues defensemen and into the back of the net.
Down 2-0 just 3:40 into the first, the Blues responded by getting mean. The game quickly turned into a sparring match, as both teams crushed each other with brutal hits and cheap slashes. St. Louis was still sloppy in their own end with turnovers, but newest Blue Klim Kostin gave them life with his first NHL goal.
Klim Kostin’s first career goal came with six minutes left in the first, at an opportune time for the Blues. St. Louis managed to rally a comeback, but the bounces went just enough in Preds goaltender Juuse Saros’ favor. Just when the Blues were ready to limp out of the period, Mathieu Olivier caused havoc deep inside the St. Louis zone, forcing the Blues defenders in deep and Binnington to overcommit, and the puck slid beneath his pads thanks to Colton Sissons.
Sissons’ goal deflated the energy from Kostin’s earlier tally, and the Blues skated off trailing 3-1. Nashville laid a beatdown of shots, 22-9 after the first period.
The Blues started finding some of their second wind in the middle period, but the turnovers in their own zone continued to mount. Sloppy passes and a general sense of miscommunication gave Nashville too much possession time. One player remained consistent throughout for St. Louis: Jordan Binnington. Not only was he making timely saves, he contributed to zone exits to help the Blues get their transition game rolling.
The third line of Zach Sanford, Robert Thomas and Oskar Sundqvist was the best line through the period, feeding off their recent success from Tampa and Calgary. However, Berube had to shake things up midway through the game when not enough chances were going their way.
The powerplay was dismal, and even contributed to Ryan Johansson’s second shorthanded breakaway of the evening. However, as the dust settled on a greasy period with lots of shady hits and non-calls, neither team managed to score. The Predators outshot the Blues through 2, 31-19.
With little spark behind the Blues’ offense in the first 40 minutes, coach Berube gave the forward lines an overhaul to start the third. The changes proved effective: St. Louis’ possession numbers started to level, and they got more chances onto Juuse Saros. Nashville refused to back down with the 2-goal lead, but neither would Binnington, when he made a great 2-on-1 save to keep the Blues in it.
With Binnington standing on his head, the Blues finally began to play with a little more speed and better passing. A fortunate powerplay for the Blues gave the St. Louis players and building some life, and with Binnington pulled, Alex Pietrangelo buried the 100th goal of his career.
The goal gave the Blues some final energy, but the Nashville defense kept it locked down as they had all night. After some hard-fought forechecking in the neutral zone, Callie Jarnkrok buried the empty-netter from the blue line to extinguish the Blues, 4-2. Binnington stood on his head again with another 40-save effort, but the 43 shots by the Predators was the highest shots allowed total this season.
Despite the final push late in the third, the Blues knew the effort all-around wasn’t acceptable in tonight’s loss. “Not good enough,” Tyler Bozak commented to Darren Pang after the loss. “They beat us on way too many 50-50 battles, they beat us to a lot of pucks and battles all around the ice, and you can’t give up that many shots every night. We can’t just expect Binner to stand on his head all the time.”
“I thought we got to our game,” Alex Pietrangelo told NHL.com afterwards. “A couple fortunate bounces go their way… I’m not going to make excuses. Anytime we play these guys it’s a tough game. We’ll be better.”
St. Louis can get revenge in just 2 days, when they play Nashville again on their turf to kick off a 3-game road trip. Follow all the action just like tonight, at 8pm ET on Monday:
STL: FSMW, ESPN 101.1, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
NSH: FSTN, WPRT 102.5, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
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