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Post-Game Musings: vs. St. Louis

by Doug Brumley / Nashville Predators
Having handed the St. Louis Blues shootout losses twice already this season, the Nashville Predators saw the tables turned on them Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena, falling to the Blues for the first time in six games, by a 3-2 margin. Nashville—fifth in the Western Conference—earned a point in the standings for taking the game to overtime, but ultimately lost ground to a fourth-place St. Louis team that secured two points with the win. Nashville did extend its lead to four points over sixth-place Chicago, which lost in regulation on Thursday.

Continuing a recent trend, the Nashville Predators got off to a slow start Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. While in previous games the Preds have been able to rally and collect victories, their resilient nature came up a bit short Thursday. Down 1-0 after one, the Preds authored a two-goal second period to gain a brief 2-1 lead. Vladimir Sobotka tied the game within 34 seconds, though, and his teammates held on for overtime before edging the Predators 2-0 in a two-round shootout.

The Predators, still 8-0-2 in their last 10 home games despite Thursday’s loss, continue their four-game homestand with a Saturday night contest against the San Jose Sharks. Game time is 7 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena.

Green Light for Josi: Roman Josi scored early in the second to even the game and record his first point in 14 games. The goal was his third of the year. He nearly won the game in overtime as well, sending a redirect of a Martin Erat pass just wide. After Thursday’s game, Josi credited his pairing with defensive-minded blueliner Hal Gill for his chances to jump up into plays offensively. “[Gill] is so strong defensively,” Josi said after the game. “Like I know that he’s going to be back and he’s going to make the right play, so that helps me to jump up.”

Smashville Breakthrough: A few weeks ago, St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock likened Saturday night Preds games at Bridgestone Arena to the atmosphere at the Colosseum in Rome. Hitchcock’s comment may have been motivated by his recent record in Smashville; he entered Thursday night’s game with an 0-11-6-1 record in his last 18 games when behind the Bridgestone Arena visitor’s bench. Thursday’s shootout win for the Blues snapped the coach’s winless streak in Music City.

Close Shaves: Thursday’s game echoed the prevailing theme between the Predators and the Blues: that the games couldn’t get any closer. The clubs went to a shootout for the third time in five games this season—with Nashville winning the two prior to Thursday’s loss. Now 17 of the last 26 games between the Central Division rivals have been decided by one goal. A playoff series between these two clubs—which would happen if the season were to end today—could mean many a late night.

Roman Josi on his backdoor chance in the final minute of overtime: “That was a great pass by Marty [Erat] and I just couldn’t handle it right. So I just tried to tip it, tip it right in but I couldn’t handle it.”

Colin Wilson: “They came out in the beginning and they were a little bit more hungry than us I guess. We got taken aback, I think. In the second and third we matched it. We were getting pucks behind them, behind their [defense]. That’s how we generate our offense.”

Head coach Barry Trotz: “We’ll have a shootout tomorrow [at practice].”

1. F, Vladimir Sobotka (STL): 1 goal, +1, 3 shots
2. D, Roman Josi (NSH): 1 goal, +1, 3 shots
3. F, Colin Wilson (NSH): 1 goal, +1, 3 shots

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