The Nashville Predators defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Wednesday, but then lost 6-2 on Friday. The Predators will start a five game homestand on Sunday when the Anaheim Ducks come to town.
Nashville Key Stats
St. Louis Key Stats
Wednesday: Alex Pietrangelo, Robert Thomas
Wednesday: Brayden Schenn
What Happened (Wednesday)
The Predators were in complete and total control from start to finish on Wednesday night. Gaudreau began the scoring by collecting a goal from Bitetto’s shot from the point. Thomas responded with a wrist shot of his own after the Blues forced a turnover in the Predators’ zone, and the game was tied at 1 apiece.
Past the midway point of the second period, the Blues went on the power play. After intercepting a pass at the blueline, Forsberg streaked to the net and buried his first shorthanded goal of the year.
As the third period began to reach its midway point, Jake Allen failed to clear the puck out of the zone which led to Watson’s first goal of the year. Ellis later backhanded his first goal into the empty net, solidifying the Predators’ victory.
What Happened (Friday)
It was the Blues who dominated on Friday night. After only 1:15 had transpired, two fights occurred. St. Louis had something to prove, and they proved it to the Predators. Proceeding a Miika Salomaki turnover, Barbashev went the full length of the ice, passed it to Schmaltz who touched it back, and Nashville was in a 1-0 hole.
The Blues expanded the lead after O’Reilly roofed a slot shot over Saros. Bonino backhanded one past Allen on the power play, but Schenn’s breakaway brought the lead back to two.
Almost immediately after the second period began, Sanford beat Saros above his blocker shoulder. After Fabbri sent a loose rebound into a virtually empty net, Saros’ night was done. It was 5-1 at the end of two.
Pietrangelo threw salt in the wound after tipping the puck past a perplexed Rinne. Hartman slung the puck over Allen’s shoulder, but it was too little, too late. The Predators lost 6-2, moving to a 16-6-1 record with 33 points under their belt.
The St. Louis Blues are the only team in the Central Division to hand the Predators a loss. Nashville has defeated the Minnesota Wild, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and obviously the Blues. They were bound to drop one to a Central Division game eventually.
Juuse Saros has allowed 14 goals on 66 shots on net in his last three starts. Not all of that is his fault, but, whew. That’s not good.
On the other hand, Pekka Rinne has allowed 6 goals on 88 shots in his last three starts. He also became the winningest Finnish goalie of all time with the victory over the Blues on Wednesday.
After their victory over the Blues on Wednesday, every single skater for Nashville has at least one point. With Watson and Gaudreau’s goal, every single forward that has skated for the Predators has lit the lamp.
The Predators’ bright spot of Friday’s loss was the power play conversion. They have converted twice on their last ten attempts- at least they’re finding some sort of life on the man-advantage.
Maybe the Blues were desperate for a win and needed to send a message to the league. Perhaps interim head coach Craig Berube hatched up the perfect game plan after an embarrassing debut. My personal guess is the Predators had too much turkey for Thanksgiving.
In any sense, it was a tale of domination for both clubs on separate nights. The rivalry has been renewed.
Also, Watson and Hartman join Colton Sissons and Mattias Ekholm for 5 minute majors in fighting. It’s only surprising they didn’t join the list sooner.
Cover Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/AP Images
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators