The Saint Louis Blues were singing in the rain Tuesday night after knocking off the Nashville Predators for the fourth time this season. Final score: 1-0. Not only are they 4-0 versus the Predators, the Blues have left them scoreless in both home games. They’d eke out this win with 1:05 remaining in the game on a Troy Brouwer score on goal. No matter the goalie, the Blues have been flawless in Nashville this season. The Predators can’t seem to get over the hump against them as they fight for division position. Nashville is 6-11-2 and standing fifth in the Central Division thus far.
It was a tough, tight, grinding contest. Both clubs were zero-for-three on the power play. The ice was choppy, the pucks were bouncy, and it seemed as if it would take a tip, screen or something to get past either goalie. That’s eventually exactly what happened. “We saw some good opportunities to throw some pucks at the net and one goes in,” said Brouwer.
Both goal tenders were terrific. Pekka Rinne, coming off his first All-Star Game appearance, made 22 saves. Brian Elliott made 16 saves for St. Louis. Elliott earned his first shutout this season and 31st of his career. Elliott’s best save probably happened with about 10 minutes remaining in the first period, when he turned aside James Neal’s one-timer. He also denied Neal’s up-close attempt with five seconds remaining to preserve the win. “This was a big game for us,” said Elliott.
The Predators were on a bit of a roll, having won four straight. “We did a lot of good things, we just couldn’t score,” said Nashville’s Ryan Johansen. They had a few opportunities, but couldn’t cash in. The management of the puck was awful, especially late in the game. The Blues had more hunt on the puck and more on the forecheck. There were numerous opportunities to get the puck out of the zone before the Blues scored. “We got caught on a long shift, and a shot that’s probably going a foot to two feet wide of the net, hits a shin guard and goes in,” said Coach Peter Laviolette.
Rinne was sharp all night, but in particularly in the third. Paul Stastny sent a pass from the left boards toward Magnus Paajarvi in front. Rinne denied Paajarvi’s one-timer from just outside the crease, sliding to his left. However, later, St. Louis’ center Robby Fabbri would carry the puck around the net, finding Alex Pietrangelo just inside the top of the right circle. Pietrangelo fired a one-timer toward the Predators net, where Brouwer was waiting, right in front. The puck deflected off his leg past Rinne. That did it.