For the second game in a row, Nashville needed a shootout to decide their fate. Unfortunately, they once again fell short and opened their home-stand weekend with back-to-back losses.
With an early 5pm start, the Nashville Predators welcomed division rivals St. Louis Blues into Bridgestone Arena. The tension between the two was obvious as soon as the puck hit the ice.
Opening the game, there was a lot of scrumming along the boards as both teams fought hard against one another to gain momentum. This lead to an exciting first period, where both teams would score. Colin Wilson sent a wrist shot past Blues’ goalie Jaroslav Halak from the slot, giving the Preds a 1-0 lead. St. Louis answered quickly with a goal from rising rookie Tarasenko and a snipe from Blues’ McDonald on the power play with an assist from Tarasenko. That power play goal was St. Louis’ fifth in their last six power play opportunities. While the Blues’ seemingly controlled the last half of the first period, David Perron had a slashing penalty called and gave Nashville a 5-on-4 advantage. Mike Fisher converted on the power play and tied the game at 2-all with 2:47 left in the first.
Halfway through the second period, Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist converted on yet another power play by backhanding a goal between Halak’s arm and body. The Predators now had a 3-2 lead. Blues’ coach Ken Hitchcock decided Halak’s night was through and replaced him with goaltender Brian Elliott.
Alex Pietrangelo tied the game for the Blues halfway through the third period after beating Predators’ goaltender Pekka Rinne with a tough angle. After neither team could produce the game-winning goal during regulation, overtime was needed.
With no goals produced throughout overtime, the Predators second game of the season would also be decided in a shootout. Nashville shot first, with Elliott stopping Craig Smith’s forehand, backhand attempt. The Blues’ placed T.J. Oshie up to shoot, with him beating Pekka Rinne and placing the St. Louis up 1-0 in Round 1. Martin Erat shot next for Nashville and was stonewalled by Elliott once again. Steen shot for St. Louis and buried the deciding goal.
Fastforward to the following evening. The Nashville Predators were now up against the Minnesota Wild. With the game being the Predators’ first of a seven-game, two-week long road trip, they were hoping to turn things around after a less-than-pleasant opening weekend. Many were also looking forward to this game after Minnesota acquired former Predator Ryan Suter last summer, making it somewhat of a rivalry match-up.
The Wild’s Dany Heatley put them on the board first. After skating into Nashville’s zone, Heatley stayed at the top of the right circle, then decided to take a wrist-shot. Unfortunately for Predators’ goalie, Chris Mason, there was a lot traffic in front of the net and Preds’ defenseman, Kevin Klein, accidentally tipped the puck off his glove and past Mason. Nashville tied the game late in the first, with Kevin Klein gaining control of the puck at Minnesota’s blue line. He snapped it towards the net and it bounced off of a scrum in front of Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. The puck deflected just right and landed on the stick of Nick Spaling, who buried it past Backstrom.
During the second period, Nashville and Minnesota were on a 4-on-4 situation. Minnesota’s Zach Parise tried to pass to Jared Spurgeon, but the puck was knocked down ice back into their own zone. Backstrom had to decide to leave his net and play the puck or allow Preds’ forward Martin Erat to come in alone on a breakway. After Backstrom hesitated, he left his crease to play the puck, but misplayed it right to Erat and fell to the ice. Pulling himself up, Backstrom made a diving play to knock the puck from Erat’s stick, but was unsuccessful. Erat skated around Backstrom and slid the puck into an empty net.
David Legwand sealed the game for Nashville with 17 seconds remaining in the third, putting them up 3-1.
After losing their first two games in shootouts, their win over the Wild marks Nashville’s first win of the season. The win marks Minnesota’s first loss of the season, also. Nashville’s record is now 1-0-2.