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Predators 3, Blues 1 @NHL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Scott Hartnell showed off his special-team skills for the Nashville Predators.

Hartnell had a power-play goal and a short-handed goal in the second period to help the Predators beat the slumping St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Saturday night for their third straight victory.

The Blues are winless in their last 11 games and have lost all three meetings with the Central Division-rival Predators this season.

``We expect to have a battle against St. Louis, but now without (longtime Blues captain Chris) Pronger and with (Keith) Tkachuk out of the lineup, it helps,'' Hartnell said. ``We think we should win every night. We did a good job tonight putting the pressure on.''

Hartnell tied it at 1 on power play 58 seconds into the second period.

``Most of (Hartnell's) goals are from getting to the net,'' Predators coach Barry Trotz. ``He has speed and good hands for a big man. He's been clutch for us.''

Hartnell gave the Predators the lead with a short-handed goal at 7:59. The goal came 3 seconds after a St. Louis penalty expired, putting the Blues on the power play.

Hartnell took a pass from Danny Markov just outside the St. Louis blue line, skated unopposed and beat goalie Curtis Sanford with a backhand shot.

``No red line has opened up the game and made that play possible,'' Hartnell said.

The Predators talk about taking the big pass if it's there, Trotz said.

``We do talk about not forcing it,'' he said. ``Passes like that used to be potential scoring chances. Now they're great scoring chances, but they have to be high percentage passes. Hartnell was able to go in, make a great move and put the puck in top shelf.''

The Predators added a power-play goal midway through the third period, with Kimmo Timonen deflecting Paul Kariya's shot through traffic over Sanford's stick hand.

Nashville was 2-of-8 on the power play.

``We've simplified our power play,'' Trotz said. We have a lot of talented players, but the most successful power play is one that stays fairly basic. Then you add a twist to catch a team off-guard.''

St. Louis was shut out in six power-play opportunities.

``Any time you get chances, you want to bury them,'' Blues winger Jamal Mayers said. ``(Nashville has) a good penalty kill. I thought the guys did a good job getting the pucks to the net. We just have to bear down and get some bounces our way.''

St. Louis opened the scoring in the first period. Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun made a pad save on a drive by Dennis Wideman, but Mike Sillinger scored off the rebound.

``We got out to an early lead,'' Sillinger said. ``We have to find ways in those tight games to score goals. I thought we played hard tonight, but it still just wasn't enough. We gotta find ways to score more than one goal.''

Vokoun made 26 saves for his 10th victory of the season.

``He played well,'' Mayers said. ``We had some chances and he made the saves.''

Notes: Sanford was recalled from Peoria on Saturday. ... Wideman's assist in the first period was the first in his three-game NHL career. ... Hartnell's second goal was his 52nd career goal, but his first short-handed. It also was the Predator's first short-handed goal of the season. ... Nashville now has 25 points in 16 games. Their previous best for 25 points was in 2003-04 when it took 23 games.

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