Vladimir Tarasenko scored late on the power play and the St. Louis Blues rallied in the third period to defeat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Thursday night at Scottrade Center. The loss moves the Preds to 0-2-0 against the Blues this season, leaving Nashville in fifth in the Central Division standings.
“It's kind of like I said a few games ago, it's not good enough,” Captain Shea Weber said. “I don't know who we’re kidding if we say it doesn't matter if you outchance teams - I don't think we did tonight because we played a lot in our own end - but we’ve played games where we sit there and say that we were better with the offensive-zone chances; that's not what matters. What matters is the scoring. We’re not beating teams and we have to be better.”
After St. Louis forward Paul Stastny broke his stick in the first period, the Predators slowly crept toward the Blues net before Roman Josi unleashed a one-timer off a feed from Filip Forsberg. Josi’s eighth of the season was the Blues first power-play score allowed since Nov. 25, a stretch of 10 games.
Play remained tight through a scoreless middle frame, with both teams defending high-quality chances from the opposing offense.
But early in the third, Blues Captain David Backes got his club on the board when he tipped a Kevin Shattenkirk shot through Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne to knot the score at 1-1. Then, with 5:20 remaining in regulation, Tarasenko capitalized on the man advantage, potting his 20th of the season which proved to be the game winner.
Nashville had one final push with the extra attacker, but Jake Allen made the last few of his 27 saves to preserve the victory for St. Louis.
“It's a team effort; we’ve all got to dig in and we’ve all got to be better,” Josi said. “We’re not playing up to our expectations, and we just have to keep playing and staying positive. It's frustrating right now, but we’re not playing to our expectations.”
Mike Ribeiro on if it’s better if the team deals with a slump now as opposed to at the end of the season:
“Hopefully we can turn this and go forward. Not having [injured forward Mike Fisher] makes a big difference in our team, but better now than later in the season. At the same time in this League and Conference, you cannot lose too many games because you’ll be chasing from behind so it's important to stay up there and keep winning games.”
The Predators are now 3-5-0 against the Central Division this season.
Forward Colin Wilson returned from a lower-body injury, playing in a game for the first time since Dec. 7 at Boston. Wilson finished with 13:22 of ice time and one shot in his return.
The Predators face another Central Division foe on Saturday when they’ll host the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville is 1-1-0 against Minnesota so far this season.