Viktor Arvidsson scored twice, and the Nashville Predators came back to salvage a point before they ultimately fell in overtime to the St. Louis Blues by a 5-4 final on Sunday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena. It's Nashville's second loss to St. Louis in as many days with the Blues collecting all four of their possible points on the weekend set.
Vladimir Tarasenko recorded a hat trick, including the winner just 16 seconds into OT, after the Preds potted three in the third entering the final 20 minutes with a two-goal deficit.
As Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette stated after the content, the final score is disappointing, but it wasn't all doom and gloom following the loss.
"It was a different game completely for us today in a positive way," Laviolette said. "I hate the result because we didn't walk away with another point, but for me, the speed and the competitiveness, the shots, the attempts, the looks that we had - I thought they were good… They're finding ways to win hockey games, and they found a way today, but I thought the things we did today were much better than the things we did last night."
"They are a good team, and they're playing really well right now," Preds Captain Roman Josi said. "We had a good first, we had a couple mistakes that cost us three goals there in the second. The third period was great, and we showed a lot of character, but against a team like that, you have to do it for 60 minutes."
After a scoreless first period, the floodgates opened in the second, with the two clubs combining for four goals in less than three minutes.
First, it was Alex Pietrangelo who gave the Blues the lead on the power play, and Tarasenko got his second of the weekend to make it 2-0. Less than 30 seconds after that, however, Arvidsson swept home a loose puck in the crease to give the Preds some life, but the Blues came right back less than a minute later as Tyler Bozak gave them a two-goal lead once more.
Video: STL@NSH: Arvidsson pots second off Johansen's feed
"We had a good first period, but a couple of mistakes cost us in the second," Arvidsson said. "We really got going in the third. We played our game in the third and really pushed forward."
Nashville came to life in the third as Roman Josi scored less than three minutes into the period, before Arvidsson added his second of the day at 6:10 to tie the game for the first time. After Tarasenko got a lucky bounce past Juuse Saros to put the Blues up once more, the Preds came back again, this time with Filip Forsberg batting a puck out of midair for his 20th of the season and a 4-4 draw.
Video: STL@NSH: Forsberg buries his own rebound to tie game
Forsberg hit the 20-goal mark on the play for the fifth consecutive season to become the only player in franchise history to score at least 20 in five separate seasons.
That wild final stanza gave way to the extra session that saw Tarasenko complete the hat trick just seconds after it began.
"We have things that we need to do better… but we never give up," Preds center Ryan Johansen said. "We just keep pushing and keep moving forward. It's just trying to find ways to win hockey games and play for each other. That's a big positive for sure."
From here, Nashville's schedule continues with Detroit and Montreal slated to make visits to Tennessee this week, and although the Preds still sit second in the Central with 71 points, the group says there is still work to do as the home stretch continues.
"We have a tremendous hockey team that's got room for improvement," Johansen said. "It's a fun part we're at right now. Games are ramping up and we're seeing that. We need this group to take a step."
"You can't just paint it with a broad brush and say every game was good or every game was bad," Laviolette said. "Tonight, I thought that we did enough good things to win a hockey game. I hate the result, but on a back-to-back situation and chasing the game the whole night, we gave our guys credit for competing until the end… Every game is different, and every game will be different moving forward. There will be hopefully a lot that we like and not so many like we don't like. We're always trying to get better."
Viktor Arvidsson has now scored 15 goals since Jan. 1, more than any other player in the League.
Ryan Ellis collected his 200th career point with an assist on the Arvidsson goal.
Rocco Grimaldi, Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Sunday.
Nashville three-game homestand continues on Tuesday when they welcome the Detroit Red Wings to town, followed by a meeting with the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.