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Monday, January 21, 2013

St. Louis vs. Nashville: Blues slip by Predators in shootout

The St. Louis Blues traveled to Nashville to take on the Predators on Monday evening and were able to pick up their second victory of the season thanks to a pair of shootout goals by T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen to win 4-3.

Both teams entered the game with very different attitudes regarding their respective season openers. The Blues were impressive in their season opening victory on Saturday, blitzing Detroit by the score of 6-0. Meanwhile, Nashville struggled in its opener, losing to Columbus on its home ice in shootouts as well.

While the two teams had very different openers, there was no doubt that Monday's game would be a dandy and it was.
The pace was frantic from the start and their were four total goals scored in the first period.

Nashville scored first on a Colin Wilson goal and less than two minutes later, Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored his third goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1. The Blues took the lead shortly thereafter on an Andy McDonald power play goal, which was assisted by a wonderful Tarasenko pass. Nashville tied the game 2-2 on a power play goal of their own by Mike Fisher.

The Blues were held in check during the second period and Nashville capitalized with another power play goal, this one by Patric Hornqvist. Hornqvist beat Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak with a weak backhand attempt, which prompted Blues coach Ken Hitchcock to pull Halak out of the game in favor of Brian Elliott. Halak stopped just eight of the 11 shots he faced on the evening.

Elliott, on the other hand, was perfect the rest of the way, stopping all 13 shots he faced, which gave the Blues a chance to tie the game on an Alex Pietrangelo goal. Pietrangelo scored from a wicked angle and was set-up, once again, by the rookie Tarasenko.

Tarasenko finished the night with a goal and two assists and not has five points in just two games.

The two teams played the rest of regulation and overtime scoreless before heading to shootouts. Elliott stopped both attempts by the Predators to lock up the victory after Oshie and Steen had beaten Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

Besides the shootout, Rinne was outstanding and stopped 36 of the 39 shots the Blues peppered his direction. Halak and Elliott faced just 24 shots on the evening.

Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had a very solid night offensively, picking up a pair of assists. McDonald added an assist to his first period goal.

The Blues are now 2-0-0 on the season and will not have to wait long to play their third game of the season. St. Louis will travel to Chicago and face the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.