Nashville Predators 1, St. Louis Blues 4
Preds outshoot Blues but can't beat Miller
NASHVILLE -- St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund had ice bags wrapped around his left shoulder, left wrist and left knee as he walked into the locker room at Bridgestone Arena for postgame interviews.
With the night Berglund had, he didn't seem to mind.
Asked if he received treatment, Berglund glanced up and down at himself and said, "Yeah, a little bit."
Berglund scored twice in a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday to help his team remain unbeaten in regulation in eight games since acquiring goalie Ryan Miller.
"I'm playing the same way," said Berglund, who has six goals in those eight games. "I've been shooting the puck. It's finding its way in, so it's obviously nice."
Miller, who made 30 saves, is 6-0-1 since coming to St. Louis in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres. He has given up more than two goals once, in his overtime loss.
The Blues (46-14-7), who have the best record in the NHL, are 7-0-1 since March 2. (Backup goalie Brian Elliott played one game, winning in a shootout.)
"[Miller] was really good; they had a five-minute run in the second period [when] he was good," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of a span when Nashville cut the lead to 3-1 and was pressing. "And then they had a little push on the power play in the third."
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for Nashville (29-29-10); those wins were on the road. The Predators have lost five straight at home in regulation, which is one from tying the franchise record. They have lost six straight at home four times, including last season.
The Blues cashed in on a couple of Predators turnovers. St. Louis capitalized on Nashville's inability to clear its zone to take a 1-0 lead at 11:32 of the first period.
Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm hit teammate Rich Clune in the back of his skates with a pass along the left boards and the puck bounded to Berglund. He skated to his left to create some space, eluded two Predators checkers, and slipped a wrist shot past Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne's glove side.
Rinne started back-to-back games for the first time since returning from a hip infection that sidelined him for more than four months. He made 22 saves one night after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2, with 31.
Berglund scored at 2:02 of the second period on a 2-on-1. Skating down the right wing with Ekholm sprawling to take away the pass, Berglund went to Rinne's glove side, ripping the shot just inside the post to put the Blues up 2-0 with his 14th of the season.
While the Predators were playing in Chicago on Friday, St. Louis was in Nashville. Predators coach Barry Trotz said he thought fatigue showed itself somewhat and did not like how his team managed the puck, but Hitchcock said the Blues had a hand in it.
"I think we caused the turnovers," Hitchcock said. "I think our positional play caused the turnovers. I think our reload on the backcheck caused three or four turnovers that put them in a tough spot. They get a lot of offense from their defense. They really activate, and if you ever get a puck turnover like we did on the 2-on-1, you're going to get a great scoring opportunity."
Vladimir Tarasenko gave St. Louis a 3-0 lead at 7:21 of the second period with his 21st goal of the season. T.J. Oshie's shot from the right side caromed off the boards behind the net, and in one motion Tarasenko slapped it in from the opposite side before Rinne could move across the crease.
Nashville scored with 3:10 left in the second period. Miller could not find the rebound of Shea Weber's point shot, and Predators center Paul Gaustad carried the rebound behind the net. He centered it, and the puck glanced off teammate Colton Sissons and came to Eric Nystrom, who converted it for his 13th.
The Blues took advantage of a 3-on-1 for their fourth goal. Nystrom's pass to Weber misfired, creating a turnover in the neutral zone. Alex Steen scored his 30th goal by one-timing the feed from Jaden Schwartz 8:05 into the third period.
Steen said reaching 30 goals for the first time did not mean much to him right now.
"It'll be nice to chat about after the season's over, and especially when my career's over and I look back on things," said Steen, whose father, Thomas, scored 30 with the Winnipeg Jets in 1984-85. "Right now it's another goal."
Nashville went on a bit of an offensive spree on the road, scoring 11 goals in three games, but its scoring woes at home continued. The Predators have four goals in five games during their home losing streak.
Trotz appeared to mix his lines on almost every shift Saturday. He said he began doing that during the winning streak, which started Monday at the Buffalo Sabres.
"I think it keeps everybody healthy in terms of their freshness," he said. "On the road it keeps [opponents] away from any matchups they might not want. It worked for us for three straight games and we tried it again today, just trying to get some rhythm to everybody's game. My rule of thumb is, if you have a good shift, I'm throwing you right back up, and if you don't, you're probably going to have to wait a little bit."