NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Keith Tkachuk called it a chess match on ice.
And he made it checkmate.
It was the second Thursday night in a row the two teams went into overtime against each other. Nashville won the first game 4-3 in a shootout. The two teams meet again Saturday night in St. Louis and Tkachuk expects another tight game.
"Both teams are battling for the same thing," Tkachuk said. "There are serious comparisons between our teams. We both have the same coaching philosophy.
"It was a little bit of a chess match. There was tight checking and two goalies making great saves."
In overtime, the Blues peppered Predators goalie Pekka Rinne with six shots on the power play. Tkachuk managed to score from in front of the crease a few seconds after the power play ended.
"We had possession and were moving the puck around," Tkachuk said. "I was sitting there by myself. I had an open net. I couldn't believe it."
Andy McDonald also scored for the Blues and assisted on Tkachuk's goal.
Steve Sullivan opened the scoring at 9:59 of the first period for the Predators. Jason Arnott passed the puck into the slot from behind the net. Sullivan, stationed in front of the crease, fired the puck low to Chris Mason's glove side.
"You know goals are going to get scored most games," Mason said. "The game was back and forth. Penalties kind of went back and forth. Both teams played a good game and smart game.
"We are fighting with the Predators to get the final playoff spot. It is great hockey to watch. It was a fun game to be part of. I wasn't surprised to see it go into overtime."
McDonald tied it at 14:06 of the second period, beating Rinne low to his stick side with a shot from the edge of the crease.
Neither St. Louis coach Andy Murray nor Nashville coach Barry Trotz was surprised at the closeness of the game.
"There was a playoff intensity," Trotz said. "It was real physical. It was emotional. There were great saves on both sides. Both teams were committed. All three games here have gone into overtime."
It was the first time in 14 games this season that the Predators have lost when leading after the first period. Sullivan is the only player who has scored for the Predators in their last two games game. He had the Predators two goals in the 6-2 loss at Detroit Wednesday night.
They are the first goals scored by Sullivan since coming back from a two-year absence due to rehab for a back injury.
"We need someone else to contribute," Trotz said. "But it is great that Sullivan is finally scoring and is feeling good about himself."
Notes: This was the fifth time the Predators have played the front end of back-to-back on the road and the second game at home. ... This was the second time the two teams have played each other in the last 10 days.
|Steve Sullivan (3) ASST: Jason Arnott (18)|
1 - 0 NSH
|Andy McDonald (8) ASST: Carlo Colaiacovo (19), B.J. Crombeen (8)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Keith Tkachuk (18) ASST: Andy McDonald (17), T.J. Oshie (13)|
2 - 1 STL
|Steve Sullivan Slashing against Brad Boyes|
|David Perron Too many men/ice - bench|
|Barret Jackman Tripping against Jordin Tootoo|
|Jerred Smithson Roughing against David Backes|
|David Backes Roughing against Jerred Smithson|
|David Backes Interference against Dan Hamhuis|
|David Legwand Interference against Carlo Colaiacovo|
|Martin Erat Hooking against Carlo Colaiacovo|