Game Report: Predators 3, Blues 1

By Nicholas Hand

Two goals from Calle Jarnkrok powered the Predators past the Blues Thursday night in Nashville. A rash of second period penalties extinguished a strong first 30 minutes by St. Louis and the Blues never recovered the remainder of the night. James Neal also scored as Pekka Rinne made 23 saves for his fourth win of the season.

The Predators broke a 1-1 tie with goals 66 seconds apart in the third period.

A strong start by the Blues produced an early lead with a first period goal which has been elusive for the Blues throughout the early season.

Jaden Schwartz lasered a wrist shot under Pekka Rinne’s glove for his third goal of the season just shy of four minutes into the game. Vladimir Tarasenko and Colton Parayko assisted on the goal which capped off a long stretch of offensive zone pressure for the Blues.

St. Louis carried the momentum throughout the period but was unable to increase the lead on Rinne despite 11 shots.

The Blues started the second period with much of the same energy as the first but found penalty trouble that swung momentum to the Predators.

Despite the Blues killing three minor penalties including a lengthy five-on-three disadvantage for the second consecutive game, Nashville tied the score with 1:34 remaining in the middle frame.

Jarnkrok fired a shot over Carter Hutton’s glove following a pass from Colin Wilson. Matt Irwin also assisted on Jarnkrok’s second goal of the season.

The third period started with the Blues receiving a power play but it failed to generate anything offensively as St. Louis was unable to put a shot on goal.

Neal’s fourth goal of the season at 3:44 on a rush following a cross-ice pass by Mike Ribeiro gave the Predators their first lead of the game.

Nashville quickly doubled their lead with Jarnkrok’s second goal of the game just a minute and six seconds later with a shot from the slot following a feed from Mike Fisher.

The Blues had a late power play opportunity in the closing minutes of the game but failed to cut into the Predators lead despite pulling Hutton for a six-on-four advantage.

Of Note: Robby Fabbri was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career as Nail Yakupov was inserted back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous three games… The Blues entered Thursday’s contest as the second most penalized team in the NHL in regards to minor penalties with 66 and were guilty of five minor penalties on Thursday. Head coach Ken Hitchcock stated that he was alarmed by the Blues lack of discipline after Wednesday night’s game against the Blackhawks and the Blues failed to buck the trend on Thursday…Chris Butler was recalled by the Blues from their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves in case Carl Gunnarsson was unable to go. Gunnarsson was able to dress and Butler was a healthy scratch. Forward Ty Rattie remains on a conditioning assignment with the Wolves … The Blues have been held to two goals or less in eight of their last nine games.

Between the Pipes:
Hutton allowed three goals on 28 shots faced and kept the Predators off the score sheet until late in the second period with strong goaltending before the levy broke on the Blues.

Looking Ahead: The Blues finish a two-game road trip on Saturday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.