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Predators rally for 3-2 win, deal Blues' playoff hopes serious blow

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues absorbed another home-ice beatdown. This time it was the Nashville Predators delivering the heartache.

Dustin Boyd scored his second goal of the game 48 seconds after teammate Patric Hornqvist tied it late in the third period, helping Nashville rally for a 3-2 victory Sunday night. The Predators have won six and a row, all with Pekka Rinne in goal, and are fifth in the Western Conference with 89 points.

"We showed a lot of character, we showed a lot of poise at the end," Rinne said. "We didn't panic."

Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo had a goal and assist for the Blues, who fell to an NHL-worst 12-18-5 at home with a setback that could be devastating to faint playoff hopes. They were 9-3 in the previous 12 games, but remained six points out of the final Western Conference spot with 10 games to go.

"The bottom line is one team came to play to win, the other team just came to play," Blues goalie Chris Mason said. "End of story."

The Blues had won two straight, winning 1-0 at New Jersey on Saturday night.

"It hurts tremendously," interim coach Davis Payne said. "It stings pretty good."

The Blues entered the night at 22-11-4 on the road, second best in the league. But the Predators handed them their ninth third-period blown lead behind Boyd's first two goals since being acquired on the trade deadline from Calgary.

"Dustin's had a couple games where he's rattled a few off the post," coach Barry Trotz said. "I just kept putting him out there, hoping that sooner or later he's going to break through."

David Perron put the Blues ahead early in the third, swatting in a backhander.

"We got the goal and then we sat back," forward Alex Steen said. "They took it to us."

Colaiacovo's power-play goal in the first period ended Rinne's shutout streak at 149:04, including 1-0 victories over Columbus Saturday and 5-0 over Minnesota on Thursday. Rinne made 59 saves before the goal and is 8-1 since the Olympic break.

"He played another unreal game," Boyd said. "It could have been a different game if he isn't back there."

Boyd added his first goal in nine games since being acquired from Calgary on the trade deadline to tie it at 1 late in the second period.

Nashville outshot the Blues 39-25 and carried play much of the final two periods with a combined 29-13 advantage. That made things easier on Rinne.

"We really kicked up the pace," Trotz said. "We were a pretty determined group. We knew this was a game they had to have and we want to put some pressure on the teams that are right ahead of us."

Steen assisted on both St. Louis goals and has 19 points in 19 games.

Hornqvist scored his team-leading 28th goal on a rebound with 3:34 left, and Boyd also converted a rebound with 2:46 remaining after a Blues player diverted the puck to his stick off Martin Erat's centring pass from behind the net.

"I think that was the best period for a long, long time," Hornqvist said. "If we keep working like that, we're going to get lots of points down the stretch."

NOTES: Predators F Jason Arnott (blow to head) and Blues D Roman Polak (shoulder) were among the scratches. Both were injured Saturday. ... Colaiacovo's goal was his fifth of the season and first since Dec. 29, also against Nashville at home. ... The Blues sold out their 28th game on free-food night, with fans helping themselves to hot dogs, chicken fingers, popcorn and soft drinks.

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