Preds snap streak, gets first win of road trip via shootout…

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On Thursday, the Nashville Predators completed their first major road trip of the season.

And it took them that long to get a victory.

But hey…. at least they got one, yeah?

The St. Louis Blues, without their leading scorer T.J. Oshie, fell to the visiting Preds by the score of 3-2 in front of 19,150 at Scottrade Center. Nashville got goals from Cal O’Reilly and JP Dumont in regulation and then a game-winner by Marcel Goc in the shootout to notch their first victory since October 24 in Tampa.

Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves in the loss and has now lost two straight. His counterpart, Pekka Rinne, made only 21 saves but got his first win since October 23 in Dallas.

After the snooze-fest opening ten minutes, a shot squeaked through Rinne’s pads and slid slowly (but surely) toward the goal line. With Rinne frozen thinking the puck was under him, Goc turned on the afterburners and wristed it off the line to save a goal.

The Blues did strike first, however. After a puck popped up high in the air, David Backes took it upon himself to steamroll Steve Sullivan. After the puck landed and was shot by Andy McDonald, the rebound came to Backes and he wristed one past an out-stretched Rinne to put his club up 1-0 late in the first. Why Sullivan didn’t use his glove to try and bat the puck out of the air instead of his stick, who knows. Either way, it led to the opening goal.

The score would stay that way until the second stanza when O’Reilly bagged a garbage goal late in the second. Sullivan carried the puck into the Blues’ zone but held up at the blueline to let his teammates get into position. He then found Francis Bouillon at the other point who drove a shot on the net. O’Reilly, planted in front, took out the garbage once Halak gave up the rebound.

In the third, both teams were a man down when Kevin Klein made a horrible decision that directly related to the go-ahead goal. Patric Berglund made a gorgeous pass off the boards to a breaking Matt D’Agostini, who walked in alone and put one through Rinne’s legs. The pass goes for not, however, if Klein doesn’t step up into the neutral zone to try and intercept, leaving his man completely unattended at the far side of the ice.

With just over six minutes left in regulation, and with a six-game losing streak on the horizon, Dumont found a puck that had come off the end boards. He did the only thing he really could do and put an innocent backhander on net. Somehow the puck found it’s way past Halak to tie the game.

The two teams needed extra time to settle this one. But, considering the rest of the road trip, overtime was a wonderful sight seeing as how it meant Nashville would get at least a point in the standings.

In the extra session, rookie defenseman Alexander Sulzer was forced to take a tripping call when Alexander Steen would’ve sprung the Blues on a clear 2-on-1. Sulzer took the infraction and the gamble paid off as the Preds killed off the penalty and forced a shootout.

After both teams traded goals in the first “inning,” both Rinne and Halak traded saves until Goc buried the game-winner in the fourth frame.

Nashville may have hit the Blues at the right time. Oshie, St. Louis’ assists leader (9) and points leader (10), suffered a broken ankle in the waining moments of last night’s loss to the Blue Jackets. It was announced during the game that Oshie will miss three months.

The Predators will attempt to start a new streak – a win streak – on Saturday night against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. This time, however, they’ll be in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena.

This weekend’s game is Nashville only contest in Music City until these same St. Louis Blues come to town on November 24.

Puck drops at 7:00pm.

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* The Preds improved to 3-5-1 without Ryan Suter in the lineup.
* Halak got the start for St. Louis despite playing in last night’s 8-1 debacle against Columbus.
* Halak is tied for the NHL lead in shutouts with three.
* O’Reilly tallied his 12th point of the season tonight, giving him a new career high.
* O’Reilly now has a five game scoring streak (2 G, 4 A).
* The Predators had a long 5-on-3 power play during the second period and registered zero shots on goal.
* Dumont’s goal was his first since October 16 and his first point period since October 24.
* The Predators went to a shootout tonight for the first time this season.
* Coming into tonight, the Preds were’ 0-0-3 in games that went to OT this year.
* Shea Weber finished the game with a team high six shots on goal.
* Nashville failed to register even a single shot on goal during the overtime session. They now have four shots in four trips to the extra period this season.

THREE STARS:
1) Marcel Goc (NSH)
2) Erik Johnson (STL)
3) Patric Hornqvist (NSH)