NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Andy McDonald scored nine seconds into the game and in the fifth round of the shootout to send the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Wednesday night.
After losing five straight, the Blues have won three in a row, while the Predators have dropped their past two.
In the tiebreaker, none of the shooters scored in the first four rounds.
In the fifth round, McDonald slipped a backhand through the pads of Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. Sergei Kostitsyn was Nashville's fifth shooter, but his wrist shot hit the post next to Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak giving the Blues the win.
McDonald scored nine seconds after the opening faceoff with a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Rinne high to the glove side. The team record for the fastest goal to open a game is 8 seconds set by Greg Paslawski on Oct. 29, 1985 at Washington and matched by Alex Steen against Colorado on March 16, 2010.
St. Louis finished with just 15 shots for the game.
Nashville also found some first-minute fortune when Jerred Smithson drew the Predators even at the 22-second mark of the second period.
Joel Ward carried the puck into the St. Louis zone along the right boards. His shot from the right circle was stopped by Halak, but the rebound landed in the slot, where an unchecked Smithson fired it into the open net for his second goal of the season.
Halak made 29 saves for St. Louis.
The Predators were 0 for 3 on the power play. It was the fifth consecutive game they failed to score with the man advantage.
Notes: Wednesday night was Nashville's eighth home game of the season, but three of those eight were against St. Louis, meaning the Blues will not return to Nashville for the remainder of this season. ... Nashville D Ryan Suter returned after missing two games with a lower-body injury. ... With an assist Wednesday, Blues C Brad Boyes extended his points-scoring streak to six games. ... St. Louis D Barret Jackman played Wednesday night after missing nine games with a sprained knee.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the game overall and the performance of the defense…
The first nine seconds weren’t great. That was an unfortunate goal. They threw it up the wall and it went off Bouillon’s stick in the middle of the ice, their guy got it, shot it, it went off Klein’s stick and then into the net. It wasn’t quite the start we wanted, but I thought defensively we did a really good job for the most part. We wanted to establish a really good tempo and be really firm on the puck. After they got the goal in the beginning it sort of quiets your bench and the building down pretty quickly. We took some penalties and were able to kill those – great job by the penalty killers.
After we got through the first period I thought we were pretty good. I thought we were pretty good most of the night. We had a lot of chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. In overtime, even the last shift of the game, Smitty (Smithson) and Wardo (Ward) had a pretty good chance around the net. I thought we played a pretty solid game and had lots of chances – we just couldn’t find the back of the net. Then obviously it went into the shootout, and that’s a little bit of a skills competition. We had Halak [beaten] a couple times and it just didn’t hit the net. It is what it is.
On how tough this loss was…
There’s going to be games where you deserve to win and then there’s going to be games you sort of steal. This one I thought we deserved to win and they’re (St. Louis) leaving here with an extra point. As I say, I believe that the Hockey Gods even those out.
On having past success with shootouts…
I never think you have the upper hand on anything. It’s execution. It’s pre-scouting the other goaltender and the shooters. We were prepared there; we just weren’t able to get the puck by Halak and we hit the post. It is what it is. There will be nights where we get outplayed a little bit and go into a shootout and get the extra point. This one’s tough to take because we really deserved the two points I thought.
Forward Jerred Smithson
On improvements on the penalty kill…
It has been better. We still have some work to do but it has been better. We are starting to get really comfortable with each other and the system. We are starting to believe in it and I think that is the main thing. We have some great guys in Nick Spaling, Joel Ward and Marcel Goc. Those guys are doing a great job. It is fun to be apart of it but it is better to stay out of the box.
On tonight’s frustration level…
I wish we could take that first shift back. Nine seconds in – I know it did take a funny hop but that can’t happen. If we could have kept that one out, we would have probably won the game.
On Nashville’s play tonight…
For the most part we knew they were a tight checking team and we weren’t going to get a lot of goals. They have great goaltending, great defense and they play tight. We have to work for all of our chances. Give them a lot of credit; they played well.
Forward Joel Ward:
On tonight’s game…
I think the hockey gods got us today. It was unfortunate but it is something that happens once in a while. We played well enough to win the hockey game but obviously the end result – we didn’t get the two points.
On the defensive plan going into tonight’s game…
We needed to limit their spacing – to get up in the gaps and create the least amount of space possible. Turnovers happen and that will give us chances offensively. That is what we tried to do. They had a fortunate play at the start of the game, which put us back a little bit. We seemed to rebound pretty well after that.
Defenseman Shea Weber:
On giving up only 15 shots and still losing…
We definitely played well enough to win. It was just one of those games where we couldn’t produce anything offensively. There is nothing else you can say – we needed to score goals.
On Nashville’s offensive chances…
We had some decent chances. Obviously, when you have 30 shots, you have to have some amount of chances. We’ve got to bear down when we do get those second chances and put them in the back of the net.