Special Teams Doom Preds In Season Opener
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 12:57 AM
Jay Levin - Nashville PredatorsRyan Suter
scored 2:03 into the game and Joel Ward
netted his first career goal midway through the second period, but the Blues netted four power-play goals to down the Predators 5-2 in the Season Opener on Friday night at St. Louis. The Blues finished the game 4-for-6 on the power-play, while Nashville went 0-for-4.
Suter started the season off nicely for the Preds with his 17th career goal. The Predators attacked in transition with Scott Nichol entering the offensive zone and sliding a pass to Jordin Tootoo
along the right wing boards. Tootoo returned the puck back to Nichol in the center slot area, for a quick touch pass back to the Suter, trailing him down the center slot. Suter snapped a wrister high to the glove side for the 1-0 Nashville lead.
The Predators appeared to extend their lead to 2-0 at the 7:38 mark of the first period when Nichol went hard to the front of the net and chipped the rebound of a Tootoo shot over St. Louis netminder Manny Legace, however the goal was disallowed and Nichol was whistled for goaltender interference.
The Blues used that power-play to change the momentum of the game. They didn't score on that man-advantage, but did tie the score on their second power-play of the period with Keith Tkachuk snapping home his first of the season with 7:15 remaining in the period. The goal was the product of a broken play. Paul Kariya's initial shot was blocked by Greg Zanon, but the puck bounced back to Kariya, who fired a pass to Tkachuk for the goal. The Blues took the lead 33 seconds later on Barrett Jackman's goal, the only even strength goal St. Louis would net all night, giving the Blues a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Blues extended their lead to 3-1 when Brad Boyes was left all alone by the far post on an early second period St. Louis power-play.
Nashville calmed things down from there and put itself in a prime situation to tie the game. Joel Ward
scored a hard-working goal to pull the Preds within one at the 7:43 mark of the middle period. Ward generated a first chance coming out behind the net with the puck for a quick tuck-in opportunity; J.P. Dumont collected the rebound and fed Ward who continued to the top of the near side faceoff circle. Ward fired home a shot from there for his first career NHL goal. Jason Arnott picked up the other assist on the play.
On the next shift the Predators drew a power-play opportunity. Weber had a quality scoring chance early in the man-advantage, but Nashville was unable to net the equalizer.
The Blues capitalized on consecutive power-plays late in the second period to make the score 5-2. Tkachuk scored the first, his second power-play marker of the night; David Backes scored the second redirecting Lee Stempniak's shot from the point.
Neither team was able to generate much in the third period with both sides combining for just nine shots in the final frame.
Dan Ellis finished the game with 17 saves including some big stops in the first period and early second period. Legace made 20 saves in net for the Blues.
and Ryan Jones made their NHL debuts in the game ... Joel Ward
made his Predators debut in the game ... Dan Hamhuis skated a team-high 23:45 of ice time. Ryan Suter
, Greg de Vries, and Shea Weber
were also over 20:00 of ice time in the game ... Jordin Tootoo
recorded a game-high four shots on goal ... Shea Weber
had a game-high five hits.