Kimmo Timonen scored on a slap shot on a 4-on-3 advantage with 1:49 left in overtime for a 2-1 victory over the sagging St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.
“We felt if we kept working and skating and doing the right things, they were going to come unglued, and they did,” coach Barry Trotz said. “They took way too many penalties, and every penalty was deserved.
“When you give us enough power plays, we’ll score eventually.”
Lee Stempniak ended a 15-game goal drought with a first-period power-play goal for Blues, who have lost 11 in a row. St. Louis is 0-4 under new coach Andy Murray, although the Blues have earned points in consecutive games against Nashville after losing in a shootout Saturday night.
Timonen’s seventh goal came on a slap shot from the high slot that beat Legace. The Predators’ 11 power plays tied for the second-most in franchise history.
The Blues were 1-for-3 on the power play, and some players were upset.
“Don’t ask me any questions about the refs,” goalie Manny Legace said. “I don’t want to get in trouble.”
But Murray said the Blues lost because “we weren’t smart.” He said he told players during a TV timeout to back off on big hits and scrums.
“We can complain that the referees should have made some calls the other way and that type of thing,” Murray said. “We need to keep the feet moving and stay away from the referees and just play the game and get a win, and we failed to do that.”
Dan Hamhuis’ second goal of the season tied it for Nashville with 4:19 to go, ending Legace’s bid for a shutout on the Predators’ 27th shot. Nashville outshot the Blues 13-4 in the third period and 4-0 in overtime.
The Predators have won 11 straight over the Blues, including three one-goal games this season, and four in a row overall. Chris Mason made his 12th straight start and had 22 saves for Nashville.
“Last year we certainly had their number and this year too, we’re finding ways to beat them,” Hamhuis said. “I wouldn’t say this year we’ve been the better team in all three games.”
The Blues have not won since beating Detroit in a shootout on Nov. 24 and have been outscored 40-18 during the slump that cost the previous coach, Mike Kitchen, his job. They’ve scored the first goal in all four games under Murray and held off the Predators until late largely due to penalty-killing.
The last two games, the Predators are 2-for-19 on the power play. Yet they’ve come from behind to win each time.
“They’re in a really tough stretch right now, that plays with your mind,” Trotz said. “We just felt they’ll be thinking about hat a little bit.”
Legace has started on consecutive nights after missing four games on injured reserve because of a concussion, but was unable to preserve a lead either night. The Blues led 2-0 after the first period on Saturday before losing 3-2.
Stempniak scored on a power play at 14:50.