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Boyes scores in regulation and shootout as Blues beat Predators 3-2

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Nashville Predators felt they let a victory slip away.

St. Louis gave backup goalie Hannu Toivonen some goals to work with, and he came through for the Blues.

Brad Boyes scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Blues won their third straight by beating the Predators 3-2 Saturday night. St. Louis, which defeated Columbus 3-2 on Friday night, had been the only NHL team not to reach overtime this season.

Toivonen stopped 35 shots as Nashville outshot the Blues 37-20, then he smothered attempts by J.P. Dumont, Martin Erat and Alexander Radulov in the shootout to win it.

"He really stood on his head, especially in the shootout," Blues forward Paul Kariya said. "Obviously, he made some huge saves. He was solid for us. And he's such a great guy and such a hardworking guy, it's nice to get a win for him."

The Blues hadn't given Toivonen much to protect in his previous two games.

"I was really pleased to see Toivonen end it," St. Louis coach Andy Murray said.

Toivonen picked up his second win in four games. He said he worked at taking as much of the net away in the shootout as possible to make the Predators make the first move.

"It worked out," he said.

Radulov and Jordin Tootoo each scored for Nashville, 6-0-1 in its previous seven games and 8-1-1 over the past 10.

"It is sort of one of those feelings where you go in the room and can't believe you lost," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We weren't able to get two or three goals and get a big lead. They hung around, and it went to a shootout and anything can happen."

Chris Mason stopped Blues rookie David Perron and ex-teammate Kariya, playing in his first game back in Nashville since leaving as a free agent. But Boyes, who also had a goal in regulation, clinched the win by faking Mason to the goalie's right, then flipping the puck behind Mason's right skate.

Perron also had a goal for the Blues, who have won their first two against Nashville this season. The Blues will host the Predators on Monday night.

"We've just got to keep winning," Boyes said. "You look at the standings, you know we're winning. You don't move up ... because it's so tight and such a tough division."

The Predators welcomed Kariya with a video montage midway through the first period, which Kariya watched while perched on the boards in front of the Blues bench. Fans gave Kariya a round of applause, and he raised his stick. They booed him during the shootout.

The rest of the time, Kariya's ex-teammates didn't give him much room to operate.

"You don't want to give Paul a lot of time to make plays because if you give him time he will make them," Trotz said.

This also marked the return of Nashville defenceman Shea Weber, who dislocated his kneecap in the season opener on Oct. 4. Weber quickly made his presence known, shooting from the right circle to set up the first goal.

Weber took a shot from the right circle, and Radulov flipped the rebound into the open net to Toivonen's right at 15:54 of the first for a 1-0 lead.

Nashville kept the puck in front of Toivonen most of the second period, outshooting the Blues 16-6. But Boyes tied it at 12:43 with a wrister off the rebound of his own miss during 4-on-4 play. Perron put St. Louis up 2-1 at 17:43 with a backhander over Mason's right leg as the goalie sprawled on the ice.

Tootoo tied the game 57 seconds later, tipping in a shot from Martin Gelinas.

Toivonen stopped a shot in front by Radulov during a power play midway through the third to keep the game tied. He stopped a shot from Jason Arnott within the final 20 seconds to force overtime, then made a pad save on Marek Zidlicky's shot and gloved another from Radek Bonk.

Notes: David Legwand tied Kimmo Timonen as the Predators' career leading scorer with his 301st point by assisting on Radulov's goal. ... Nashville is 2-for-25 with the man advantage over the past five games and has gone to overtime in four of five. ... The Blues improved to 7-2 when allowing two goals or fewer.


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