St. Louis had fallen to Nashville nine straight times, but at first it looked as if things were going to change with Andy Murray behind the Blues’ bench.
The Predators broke with form in falling behind after giving up two first-period goals, but Paul Kariya scored on a power play in regulation and had the only goal in a shootout to help Nashville continue its domination with a 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Saturday night.
It was the 10th straight loss for the Blues, and the third for Murray in as many games since taking over.
“Before you win you sometimes have to play good for a few games and I thought we did that against Nashville,” Murray said. “Everybody was involved. We ran four lines and got contributions from a lot of people. I’m disappointed that we didn’t win, but I recognize the Predators are a good hockey team. Not that many teams have gotten points off of them this season.”
Kariya beat Blues goalie Manny Legace with a high shot in the shootout.
The Predators took only 10 shots in the first two periods and were outshot 35-24 for the game.
“We didn’t come out with the right conviction early,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “I think we were looking for a little bit of an easy game. It wasn’t one of our better performances, but I don’t want to take anything away from the Blues. They clogged up the neutral zone and slowed things down. We had to show patience and grind it out.”
The Blues took an early lead when Keith Tkachuk skated in from the right side and across the crease, firing a shot from the left side of the net that beat Chris Mason 29 seconds into the first period.
Doug Weight scored on a 5-on-3 power play at 10:43 in the first period when he shot a one-timer from the top edge of the right circle past Mason, giving the Blues a 2-0 advantage.
“That was the best game we have played in a long time,” Tkachuk said. “It is unfortunate we didn’t get the win, but we are going to keep battling. We have to fight our way through a lot of things, but we will be fine.”
Kariya cut the Blues’ lead to 2-1 at 10:34 of the second period when he blasted a slap shot from just inside the blue line that went over Legace’s outstretched glove.
Nashville’s Scott Nichol tied the game with 17 seconds left in the second, skating through traffic in the slot and beating Legace with a shot that went between his leg pads.
Nashville has outscored opponents 48-18 in the second period.
“It was great for us to have to come back like this,” Nichol said. “We were kind of storming them at the end. It took us a while to figure them out, but once we did it opened the ice up a little bit.”
After a scoreless third period, Lee Stempniak had a one-on-one break against Mason at the 2:46 mark of overtime, but was taken out of the play by Nashville’s Kimmo Timonen. The Predators threatened in the closing seconds, but could not score.
“We got some bad breaks after taking the 2-0 lead,” Tkachuk said. “We need to find a way to get that third goal and really put a team behind the eight-ball.”
Notes: Nashville’s Martin Erat has seven assists in his last five games. … Tkachuk’s goal was only his second in the last 12 games. … Legace was playing his first game in 11 days for St. Louis after being sidelined with a head injury. … Nashville’s Steve Sullivan earned an assist on Nichol’s goal to keep him tied with Kariya for the team lead in points. … Nashville’s Vernon Fiddler hurt his shoulder in the second period and did not return in the final period. … Martin Rucinsky skated in his 900th game.