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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

Thursday.

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

do."

"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

lucky."

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."

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.

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