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Preds do it again with 4-2 win over Blues

by Louie Korac
ST. LOUIS -- Two divisional road games, both on the road for the youngest team in the League. Yet, the Nashville Predators return to Music City with four points.

After a 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on Saturday night, spoiling the second home-opener in as many nights, the Predators now march home to open up another building -- their own. But with two wins in as many nights in hand, it'll be a happy homecoming.

"Two division opponents and go into their barns and winning is huge on the road," said center David Legwand, who scored twice and assisted two more. "Weathering the storm obviously had to do that off the bat. It's big for our team and our confidence right now."

Nashville (2-0-0) went into Columbus on Friday, playing with five rookies in their lineup, and downed the Jackets 3-2 before bouncing the Blues.

Craig Smith, playing in his first two NHL games, now has two goals and two assists after a three-point night (one goal, two assists) against the Blues.

He's part of a line with Legwand and Colin Wilson, a line that accounted for eight points Saturday night.

"They're learning on the fly," Legwand said. "Smitty and Willy, they're young kids with a lot of energy. That's a huge thing obviously.

"They're getting the go-ahead with the coach and Coach (Barry Trotz) is letting them go out there and they're playing hard. That's what we need. They keep learning and they're asking questions and that's what we need. The more they do it, the better they're going to be down the road."

Pekka Rinne, who has been battling the flu this past week, stopped 31 shots after kicking out 32 on Friday. He outdueled the Blues' Jaroslav Halak, who had tremendous numbers against the Predators last season, going 4-1-1 with a 1.14 goals-against average and .956 save percentage.

"I think (Halak) shut us out three times last year, which is impressive," said defenseman Kevin Klein, whose game-winning goal with 6:46 to play was the difference in the game. "They block a lot of shots for him, but he's a good goaltender. With him, I think we just have to get traffic, which we seemed to do tonight."

Klein's shot from the right circle came through what appeared to be a screen and beat Halak on the short side. It came after former Preds center Jason Arnott tied the game 57 seconds earlier with a power play goal in the third period.

"I got a little screen from (Blues defenseman Nikita Nikitin)," said Halak, who stopped 12 shots in the game. "We just need to talk more and make sure next game, I see the puck.

"It's hard to play against this team, and they showed it again tonight. We stuck with the game plan, tied it up, but they came right back. Let's take the positives into the next game and I'm pretty sure everybody will be better."

The Blues gave their raucous crowd a big boost when Patrik Berglund put the home side up 1-0, converting T.J. Oshie's feed from behind the goal. But Nashville, which took advantage of its power play chances, scored twice with the man advantage. Smith and Legwand, whose goal in the third broke a 1-1 tie, helped the Preds go 2-for-4 with the man advantage.

"Special teams are huge," said Smith, who broke Halak's shutout streak against the Predators at 171:55. "We made an adjustment on the power play."

Arnott's power play goal 12:17 into the third came at an opportune time, as the Blues' fans were awaiting to erupt. But Klein's game-winner quickly took the air right back out of the building.

"We had a good shift following that," Oshie said. "A little miscommunication in the D-zone. I believe I was screening Jaro. I don't know if he even saw it. It's a tough break. Something we've got to clean up."

The Blues lost defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo with 6:44 left in the second period and he did not return when he went hard into the back boards after having his skates taken from underneath him by Blake Geoffrion, who picked up a two-minute tripping penalty.

Colaiacovo, who the Blues say will be evaluated Sunday, has had a history of injuries throughout his career. He missed a couple days in the preseason with a chest injury.

Nashville played the game without Martin Erat, who sat out after playing the opener Friday in Columbus with an upper-body injury, believed to be his back.

A touching moment before the game included a video tribute and moment of silence for the hockey players of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, who were killed in a tragic plane crash en route to their first game of the season. Those players included former Blues Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev as well as former Preds players Josef Vasicek and Karlis Skrastins as well as Preds draft pick Robert Dietrich. Also, former Pred Wade Belak was honored. Belak retired from the NHL after the 2010-11 season.
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