NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a matchup of teams riding four-game winning streaks something had to give. The Nashville Predators needed a little extra time to stretch their run to five.
David Legwand scored the only shootout goal, Pekka Rinne finished with 39 saves and the Predators beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Saturday night. Legwand drifted to his right before lifting a backhander over the outstretched glove of goalie Jaroslav Halak.
“It’s always nice to score one when you have the opportunity,” Legwand said. “Pekka stood strong and gave us the opportunity to be there for that goal.”
St. Louis outshot Nashville 40-20.
“We didn’t have our ‘A’ game, but they forced us out of our ‘A’ game a little bit,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “They outchanced us, but it was not as wide as the margin of shots.”
Martin Erat scored in regulation for Nashville, and T.J. Oshie had the goal for St. Louis. Both scores came in the third period, and the Predators struck first.
Just as a penalty on Nashville’s Sergei Kostitsyn was expiring, St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk fell down inside the Predators zone while holding the puck. Mike Fisher carried the puck up ice and passed it to Shea Weber on the right side. From the right circle, Weber sent a pass to Erat on the doorstep for an easy tap-in and his sixth goal of the season.
The Predators were whistled for too many men on the ice at 15:26, and 42 seconds later David Backes found Oshie in front for the tying goal.
“One of our goals is to get 40 shots a game, and we peppered the net,” Oshie said. “I think one thing we have to do is get more traffic in front of their goaltender. It’s tough when you get that many shots on the goaltender and he wins the game for the other team.”
It was the Blues’ sixth power-play opportunity of the game. St. Louis began the game with the NHL’s worst power-play rate at 10.8 per cent.
“We earned the power plays because of our hard work and our determination,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. “What can you say? We didn’t finish the chances we had. We played a heck of a hockey game and deserved a lot better fate.”
Nashville didn’t have any power plays. In the final seconds of overtime, a delayed penalty was set to be called on the Blues, but time expired before they gained possession of the puck.
St. Louis had a prime scoring opportunity with 1:05 left in the second period. Jamie Langenbrunner had the puck on the right post of the Nashville goal, but his shot was kept out by the outstretched stick of defenceman Jack Hillen. Langenbrunner’s shot hit the shaft of Hillen’s stick, and a brief video review confirmed the call on the ice of no-goal.
In improving his career shootout record to 18-10, Rinne forced Oshie’s shot wide before denying David Perron with his right pad. Patrik Berglund hit the left post with St. Louis’ last shootout attempt.
“A lot of times when you face 40 shots, the game gets easier,” Rinne said. “They are a team that likes to shoot the puck, like Detroit, so it is a fun team to play against.”
Halak finished with 19 saves through overtime. He made stops on Fisher and rookie Craig Smith before being beaten by Legwand.
NOTES: Former Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed his first game of the season for the Blues due to an illness. … Perron extended his point streak to three games. … The Predators have played 10 consecutive one-goal games, going 7-3. … Nashville is 5-1-2 against the Central Division this season.