Calle Jarnkrok scored twice and the Nashville Predators defeated the St. Louis Blues by a 3-1 final on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The victory bumps Nashville's record to 5-5-3 with points in five consecutive outings.
After a slow start, Nashville got going in the latter portions of the game, scoring twice in the third period against former Preds netminder, Carter Hutton, to emerge with the win.
"It feels good," Captain Mike Fisher said. "It was a big game against a real good team and we got better as the game went on. It was a big win for us.
Video: Jarnkrok's two goals help Predators top Blues, 3-1
"We're starting to play the way we know we can play. We're just playing a lot better. We still feel like there's room to improve in a lot of areas. It's definitely a good sign that we're finding ways to get points, and it's nice to get a couple in a row."
Two Is Better Than One:
Video: STL@NSH: Jarnkrok scores second goal off turnover
Scoring goals or not, Head Coach Peter Laviolette has called Calle Jarnkrok one of the smartest hockey players he's ever coached. And every once in awhile, Jarnkrok's smarts translate on both sides of the puck, like they did on Thursday when he tallied twice against the Blues to secure Nashville's second consecutive victory and give it points in five straight.
"Calle could truly play any position on our team and he could play with any line on our team," Laviolette said. "Not a lot of people can do that. He's a really smart player, he thinks the game really well and he knows where to be. He's very responsible defensively and it's nice to have a player like that on the bench as a coach where you know that you can trust him in all situations."
Video: Coach Laviolette talks about his club's 3-1 victory
"It's kind of my spot," Jarnkrok said of scoring both goals from the slot. "I got a great pass from [Wilson] the first time and a great pass from Fishy the second time."
Video: STL@NSH: Jarnkrok ties the game off feed from Wilson
After failing to convert on a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity, it looked like the Preds were about to enter the second intermission without finding a way to beat Carter Hutton. But that all changed at the 18:26 mark.
From the right corner in the St. Louis zone, Colin Wilson corralled the puck and sent a slick backhand pass to Calle Jarnkrok in the slot, where No. 19 threw a slight fake on the defender before roofing a laser of a shot over the glove of Hutton to even the score before the end of the period.
The tally gave the Preds a much-needed boost heading into the third, and Jarnkrok's strike got it all started.
"That was huge," center Ryan Johansen said. "It was tough to get the first goal, and then being able to get one right before the third was huge. We knew they had a back-to-back, so we went out there and played our game."
Video: Preds players discuss their win over the Blues
"It was such a timely goal," Laviolette said. "Aren't a lot of chances to be found out there and there never are against St. Louis. You have to be patient. You have to work hard in the battles just to create one scoring chance. To leave that 5-on-3 and still not get a goal, for Jarnkrok to get one right after that and send us into the break with a tied score, it made a really big difference in the game."
Video: STL@NSH: Neal scores off Ribeiro's beautiful feed
The Predators didn't get off to the start they wanted when the Blues struck less than four minutes into the game, but Pekka Rinne did the job the rest of the way and the skaters in front of him continued to put pucks at the St. Louis net, eventually converting twice in the third to earn wins in consecutive games for the first time this season.
"Tonight was a game where we were tied going into the third period and the game was in question," Laviolette said. "We were able to play our best period in the third period and we were able to score a couple of goals and walk away with a win. I think there have been a lot of good signs in the last games. The signs have been there and we hope that the results follow."
Preds Captain Mike Fisher returned to the lineup on Thursday after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury. Fisher skated 17:52 of ice time and picked up an assist.
Calle Jarnkrok tied a career high with two goals (also: 11/14/15 and 2/13/16).
Pontus Aberg recorded his first career point, an assist on James Neal's goal.
Neal has scored in three straight and has registered seven points (4g-3a) in his last six games.
The Predators finish their home stand on Saturday night when the Anaheim Ducks return to Bridgestone Arena for the first time since the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring.