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Paul Kariya leads St. Louis Blues to 2-1 victory over Nashville Predators

ST. LOUIS - Paul Kariya had his former teammates admiring his solid play.

Kariya had a goal and an assist, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Monday night. Brad Boyes scored his team-leading 12th goal for the Blues, who have won four straight against Central Division foes and all by one goal. St. Louis also won 3-2 in Nashville on Saturday night.

Kariya, who played the last two seasons with the Predators, broke a scoreless tie in the second. He tipped Erik Johnson's shot from the point between the pads of Nashville goalie Chris Mason at 9:32 for a power-play goal.

"It was a lucky play," Kariya said. "The puck just happened to hit my stick. (Johnson's) got such a bomb, he can put those in himself."

It was Kariya's fifth goal of the season.

"He's always a threat to score," Predators defenceman Shea Weber said of his former teammate. "He's a great player and he's prepared every night no matter who he's playing. You've got to be at your best to try and limit his chances."

Boyes, who also scored Saturday against the Predators, gave the Blues a 2-0 lead when he banged home Kariya's tip pass 6:40 into the third period. Keith Tkachuk set up the play when he skated between the circles and fired a shot that Mason stopped, but Kariya tipped the rebound to Boyes, who beat Mason from the right side of the goal.

"He's opportunistic, deserving," Blues coach Andy Murray said of Boyes. "He's around the net. I thought that line was very poor in the first period - Boyes, Kariya and Tkachuk. I thought they elevated their game as it went along."

Radek Bonk scored for Nashville late in the third.

"The other night we probably deserved a little better fate and they sort of stole one from us," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "Tonight, it was a pretty even hockey game. If we score on our chances ... we had three breakaways. We had a couple up the middle. They just didn't go in."

Both teams had quality chances during a scoreless first period.

Mason made a pad save on David Perron's shot early in the game. Blues goalie Manny Legace kicked out J.P. Dumont's attempt from the side of the net, then made a dazzling glove save of a Weber shot from the point to keep the game scoreless.

Legace also stopped Martin Erat's breakaway attempt with 1:47 to play in the second period. He finished with 24 saves.

Bonk's goal at 18:57 in the third cut it to 2-1, but the Predators could not get the equalizer after pulling Mason from the goal.

Notes: Blues D Christian Backman skated in his 200th career game, and Predators G Chris Mason skated in his 100th. ... Predators C Jason Arnott sat out with a neck strain sustained Saturday night against the Blues. He is listed as day to day. ... Kariya has been on the winning side in 18 of the last 19 games in the Nashville-St. Louis series dating to the 2005-06 season. Kariya was with the Predators in each of the last two seasons in which Nashville owned a 15-1 mark (8-0 in 2005-06 and 7-1 in 2006-07). ... Blues D Jay McKee was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game. ... Of Boyes' 12 goals on the season, 11 have come at home. ... St. Louis has killed 19 consecutive penalties after the Predators were 0-for-5 Monday.


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