Sullivan’s shootout goal lifts Predators over Blues

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) — After captain Jason Arnott
salvaged one point for the Nashville Predators, Steve Sullivan
earned them a second.

Sullivan scored the lone goal in the shootout to lift the
Predators to a 4-3 comeback win over the St. Louis Blues on

Arnott and defensemen Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Klein tallied in
regulation and David Legwand recorded two assists for the
Predators, who narrowly avoided their third consecutive loss.

With Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne not giving up anything in
the shootout at the other end, Sullivan followed a miss by
Legwand by beating Blues netminder Chris Mason between the pads.

“I’m not afraid to say that throughout all of our shootouts, we
try to avoid Mason as much as possible,” said Sullivan, who
still is seeking his first regulation goal of the season. “To
go against him was a treat tonight. I’m glad I was able to
sneak one by him tonight. He’s very good at them. I don’t have
too many shootout moves. You have to stick with what you can

“Sullivan is a guy that just wants to win, but he wants to get
that first goal,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “He is
expected to produce some offense, and goal-scoring is part of
it. It’s a little elephant off of his back. Hopefully, he’ll
get hot and be a really big offensive boost for us.”

Rinne made the final save on T.J. Oshie, stretching out his left
pad to deny the shot and clinch the win.

“You try to be patient,” Rinne said. “Every team uses really
skilled guys, so you wait for a deke rather than a shot. I
tried to read the players and I tried to be patient. I feel

Arnott forced overtime when he slapped a rebound out of the air
and past Mason with three seconds left in the third period. It
was the 21st goal of the season for the veteran.

“Most of the time when you’re out there, you just try to stay as
loose as possible and stay away from their defenders,” Arnott
said. “We had enough guys on the other side, and the puck just
popped out. I took a whack at it, and it went in.”

“We called the timeout, we won the faceoff and we failed to get
the puck out of the zone,” St. Louis coach Andy Murray said.
“The puck was in the corner of the rink with about 4.5 seconds
to go, and we didn’t protect the front of the net. The puck got
there and they scored.”

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Brad Winchester and David Backes each collected a goal and an
assist for St. Louis. David Perron added his seventh tally of
the season and Brad Boyes notched a pair of assists for the
Blues, who missed a chance to win here in regulation for the
first time since April 3, 2004.

“I know Predators hockey, and I’ve seen a lot of games like that
where they are down in the third period,” said Mason, who spent
parts of six seasons with Nashville before being traded to St.
Louis in June. “They really worked hard in the third period and
put the puck in the goal.”

The Blues grabbed the early lead when Winchester stole a pass
and found Boyes streaking up the right side. Boyes skated
across the goal mouth and attempted a backhander that was
blocked by Rinne, but Backes scooped up the rebound and stuffed
it in from the doorstep just 2:44 into the game.

St. Louis doubled the lead on Perron’s goal 12 minutes later.
After Hamhuis’ power-play tally with 40 seconds left in the
first halved the deficit, the Blues pushed the advantage back to
two goals on Winchester’s slap shot from above the right faceoff
circle with 8:16 remaining in the second period.

“It seemed like an uphill battle the whole time,” Trotz said.
“With the third goal, that was the one that really deflated us
because of the fact that right before, we were coming on them
pretty well.”

Klein pulled the Predators within one when he circled behind the
net and emerged on the left side before sneaking a wrist shot
between Mason and the goalpost at 7:55 of the third.

“St. Louis is a hard team to come back on,” Trotz said. “They
check pretty well and they’ve got good goaltending. We did get
a little ground on them, and that’s huge for us.”

Mason made 31 saves, while Rinne stopped 24 shots.