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Blues 1, Predators 0 @NHLdotcom

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Nashville was hoping to get the Peter Forsberg era off to a better start - even if he wasn't playing.

Despite insisting the trade for the star center wasn't a distraction, the Predators dropped a 1-0 decision to the St. Louis Blues on Friday night. The loss came about 24 hours after Nashville acquired Forsberg from Philadelphia.

"I'm not going there because our guys handled it pretty well," coach Barry Trotz said. "We're absolutely excited about having him. We're mature enough to realize that we just have to play hard."

The former MVP did not play against the Blues and should make his debut with the Predators on Saturday at home against the Minnesota Wild. Nashville gave up two players and two draft picks in the deal.

Bill Guerin scored late in the second period, Manny Legace stopped 19 shots and the Blues ended a 14-game losing streak against the Predators. St. Louis last defeated the Predators at the end of the 2003-04 season. The Blues lost all eight meetings last year and the first six this season, all but the final loss coming by one goal.

"It feels good," Guerin said. "We've played them hard all year and we wanted something to show for it."

The Blues had few good scoring chances despite outshooting the Predators 29-19. Even the one goal somewhat surprised Guerin.

He notched his team-leading 27th goal with 53 seconds left in the second period and both teams skating with four players. He collected a pass from Doug Weight as they entered the Nashville zone and danced around a defender before flicking the puck past goalie Chris Mason and just inside the top corner.

"Nobody was more surprised than me," Guerin said. "It's usually not my style."

Guerin has scored in three straight games, including a hat trick against San Jose. He has eight points in the past five games on six goals and two assists.

The four-on-four came after the Blues lost a man-advantage 17 seconds after Vitaly Vishnevski was whistled for tripping. Christian Backman lingered with the puck deep in the zone before turning it over. Nashville skated out of its zone on a 2-on-1 break, forcing Keith Tkachuk to hook Steve Sullivan and possibly keeping the Predators from scoring the game's first goal.

Tkachuk's penalty marked one of several good defensive moves by the Blues. They limited Nashville's top-three goal scorers - Sullivan, Jason Arnott and David Legwand - to one shot for the game. Legwand's had the only chance for the trio when he took the Predators' first shot of the third with 9 1/2 minutes left.

Legace also got some luck in securing his fifth shutout this season and 18th overall. Nashville got the puck past Legace three times only to have their shots hit metal.

Vishnevski's shot from between the center of the two circles bounced off the post to the left of Legace in the second period. Nashville had just missed scoring the game's first goal midway through the second. Four minutes before Legwand hit the post on a tough-angle shot, Paul Kariya narrowly missed his 18th goal of the season after his backhand glanced off Legace and the crossbar before getting cleared.

"I put it where I wanted to," Kariya said. "He just got the tip of his glove on it."

Notes: Nashville RW J.P. Dumont left the game in the second period with a groin injury. ... St. Louis RW Dan Hinote will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. ...The Blues have outshot the Predators in six of their seven games, including 29-19 Friday. ... St. Louis is 15-2-3 when leading after two periods. ... Nashville has won twice in 12 tries when trailing entering the third period. ... Former Blues star Brett Hull helped unveil the sign for "Brett Hull Way" in a pregame ceremony. The city named the portion of a street next to Scottrade Center in Hull's honor Dec. 5, the same day the team retired his No. 16 sweater.

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