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Blues deal Predators first regulation loss of 2010-11…

Well, it was bound to happen eventually.

The St. Louis Blues came into Bridgestone Arena and knocked off the Nashville Predators, 3-0, on goals by Alexander Steen, Matt D’Agostini and Patrik Berglund.

It was Nashville’s first loss in regulation this season.

Pekka Rinne, in particular, played an incredible game. Not only did he stop 31 of 34 St. Louis shots (none of which he had a chance on) but he saw the puck through traffic constantly, had a sixth sense of anticipation, gobbled up rebounds and, at times, single handedly kept Nashville in the game. He may get the loss on his record but make no mistake, he deserved better on this night.

In the first period, while the Blues did outshoot the Preds 15-8, it was all Nashville. Almost every Predators shot was a ginuene scoring opportunity and even the pucks that never found their way towards St. Louis goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak generated solid chances. Unfortunately for Nashville, Halak showed just why he had a stellar .930 save percentage this season, turning away all eight shots he faced.

The surprise of the period came from Kevin Klein. The Preds defenseman logged a team-high 9:07 of ice time. Some of that could be attributed to the fact that Francis Bouillonwent to the dressing room with an undisclosed injury in the final minutes. But still, Bouillon left in the final minutes. Not the middle of the period.

The second stanza was no different. After the initial lull of the opening minutes, the game became a fast-paced, pond-hockey style contest. Nashville peppered Halak with more shots – and more chances – but he was equal to the task, stopping all 11 pucks that got through. Rinne, on the other hand, wasn’t as lucky. Despite making 11 saves that period as well, the 12th shot got over the line and put the Blues up 1-0.

Then the third period came.

St. Louis extended their lead with a goal of Berglund and while the Predators still had plenty of time to recover, things got ugly real fast.

Jordin Tootoo, at full speed, blasted Carlo Colaiacovo behind the St. Louis net. No penalty was called on the initial play but after Colaiacovo laid on the ice for a while, the referees decided Tootoo should get a five minute major for charging and a 10 minutes game misconduct.

Head Coach Barry Trotz was not happy about it either.

“I looked at it and Jordin didn’t move his feet at all from the top of the circles in,” Trotz said in his post game press conference. “I’m a little bit confused on that but, before I comment more, I’ll have to hear from the league.

“I thought it was a fairly clean hit.”

The Blues then notched another one on the ensuing power play and the rain of boo’s started from the 15,506 at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville has very little time to dwell on their first regulation loss of the season. They travel to Detroit to take on their arch rivals the Red Wings on Saturday night.

Puck drops at 6:00pm Central.

* Is it the fact that he finally scored or is it the fact that he’s finally healthy? Whatever the case, Sergei Kostitsyn looked amazing in the first period.
* Shea Weber led all Predators in ice time with 26:01.
* Patric Hornqvist finished with six shots on goal, doubling the total of the next best Nashville skaters.
* Alexander Sulzerlogged the second most ice time for the Preds, 22:49. He also took 26 shifts, most on the team.
* This was Halak’s second shutout in as many games.

MY THREE STARS (as I voted with 6:17 left in regulation):
1) Halak
2) Rinne
3) Hornqvist

1) Halak
2) Steen
3) Perron

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