Brouwer's late goal helps Blues edge Predators
Forward scores with 1:05 left; Elliott gets shutoutby Robby Stanley @RStanley247 / NHL.com Correspondent
NASHVILLE -- Troy Brouwer scored with 1:05 remaining to give the St. Louis Blues a 1-0 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo took the initial shot from the right faceoff circle and it deflected off Brouwer and past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne for his 10th goal.
"We were able to recover the puck quite a few times, keep them hemmed in their zone," Brouwer said. "I think the puck came out of the zone once, but we were able to put it back in and not let them change, which is always the key to try and grind them down. It was a hot rink out there tonight, and anytime you can keep guys on the ice for an extended period of time it wears them out pretty quick."
Brouwer's goal ended a scoreless drought of 145:58 for the Blues. They have been struggling to find offensive success consistently as of late but have managed to stay in games with strong defense.
Video: STL@NSH: Elliott makes stop on Johansen in 1st
"We only scored one tonight," Pietrangelo said. "It's not like we scored five or six. We can still certainly get better in that aspect. Defensively we're not giving up much, so it's how do you keep doing what you're doing defensively without sacrificing that to create more chances? We've talked about it over the last day or two, and it's going to be a process here, but we're trying to implement some new things."
Blues goaltender Brian Elliott made 15 saves for his first shutout of the season. St. Louis (30-16-8) is 4-0-0 against the Predators.
"They tried at first, and then we did a good job of getting in lanes," Elliott said. "I think [Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson] had probably three or four huge blocks, and you can go down the list of guys blocking. I think they had a lot of attempts, but when you've got guys sacrificing the body on guys like [Predators defenseman Shea Weber], [Gunnarsson] going down in the first period and taking one in the back of the leg, that's huge for me."
St. Louis was effective on the penalty kill, keeping Nashville from entering the zone cleanly and being able to set up on the power play. When the Predators were able to get the puck moving to create shots on the power play, the Blues were able to get in the shooting lanes and block shots.
Video: STL@NSH: Rinne stones Paajarvi in front early in 3rd
"They move it around pretty good," Elliott said. "[Predators forward Mike Ribeiro] kind of sets guys up a lot. We did a good job of not allowing them to set up. When they did get set up, nothing was there for them. It's a testament to our hard work and trying to get the train rolling again. We had probably the most time off of any team in the NHL. It takes a little bit to get the engines going, but guys did a good job tonight."
The Blues struggled to generate much pressure in the first period and had four shots on goal. But they controlled the flow of the game as it progressed.
"We played so much better in the second and third periods," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We really played well in both periods. They were really good in the first period, and we knew weathering the storm here is a difficult challenge. But I thought of the three games we've played, this is the best we've played over 60 minutes here. It felt very much like a playoff game. Not much room out there, not much space. You really had to earn your scoring chances. I thought both teams made it hard on each other."
Video: STL@NSH: Elliott stones Ellis from point-blank range
Nashville (24-20-8) had eight shots on goal in the first period and eight for the rest of the game.
"We didn't do a very good job of generating tonight," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought some of that's us, I think some of that is credit to them. They were really tight, really tough defensively. We knew it could be a game where there wasn't a lot of scoring opportunities and there weren't a lot of goals, and we were trying to stay patient with our game and just continue to do the right thing and the smart thing. We did it for 59 minutes."
Rinne made 22 saves and allowed one goal in a game for a fourth consecutive start.
St. Louis forward Magnus Paajarvi played in his first game since Jan. 9; he missed seven games because of an upper-body injury.
Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson was recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Monday and started the game on a line with Mike Fisher and Austin Watson.