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Preds have to sit and stew about loss to Blues for five days

Put simply, it was a night the Nashville Predators would like to put behind them as soon as possible. Too bad they’ll have to wait a while in order to do that.

The St. Louis Blues came into Music City and thumped the Preds, 6-1. The score was a tad lopsided, however, as the Preds were in most of the game. Things got out of hand late, making the loss look worse than it was.

Carter Hutton, despite the five goals allowed, played well. He made just 21 saves on 26 St. Louis shots but most of the goals were not his fault.

“It didn’t seem like a 6-1 game,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “It wasn’t a 6-1 game until they got the fourth goal. I think that was sort of game, set, match.”

Early in the first,¬†Alex Steen continued his attack on the scoresheet. Just seconds after Colin Wilson took a tripping penalty 190 feet from his own net, Steen found himself with the puck in the faceoff dot. He made no mistake, tucking it under the crossbar for his ninth of the year. The Preds¬†were 22 for their last 22 on the penalty kill before Steen’s goal.

In the second period, TJ Oshie deflected an Alex Pietrangelo shot from the point to make it 2-0, St. Louis. Hutton didn’t have a chance as there was all kinds of traffic in front of him.

Midway through the tilt, Jaden Schwartz took advantage of a poor decision by defenseman Victor Bartley. Hockey 101 tells you that, as a defenseman on a 2-on-1, you take away the pass. Bartley took the shooter and, as a result, Schwartz one-timed a Vladimir Sobotka pass past Hutton for the 3-0 lead.

The Predators tried to wrestle the game back, however, as Nick Spaling bagged a shorthanded tally in the opening minute of the third period. While on the power play, Sobotka fumbled the puck while trying to keep it in. Spaling raced the other way on a partial breakaway and beat Halak to cut the St. Louis lead to two. Considering the Predators hadn’t played all that bad, the 16,681 inside Bridgestone Arena could feel the momentum finally start to shift.

“I think it was good to get it early,” Spaling said. “Going into the third, we were able to cut the lead down.”

“He gave us life,” Trotz said.

But, just as quickly as they got life, it slipped away.

Just four minutes later, Steen potted his second of the game (and 10th of the season) on a mad flurry in front of the Nashville crease. After more than a few chances in which the Preds just couldn’t gain control of the puck, Steen banked it in off Hutton from behind the net making it 4-1, Blues.

“The one behind the net was a lucky one,” Trotz said about St. Louis’ fourth goal. “There was a little bit of puck bouncing and (he) threw it off the wall and hit his back. Just the was the way it was going.”

The wheels would truly come off when Derek Roy put a simple wrist shot on net from the point. It was a 2-on-1 situation and Hutton may have been cheating pass but, at the end of the day, it was one he’d like to have back.

That would be the end of the night for Hutton as rookie Magnus Hellberg would come in with 12:12 remaining to make his NHL debut. The 2011 second round pick would give up just a power play tally to Pietrangelo and make three saves otherwise in an outing he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

“They were better than us today,” Hellberg said. “But it was fun to get some action tonight and get the first game out of the way. That was the only positive tonight.”

Nashville now has to sit and think about this one for an abnormally long time. Their next game is in Phoenix (well, you know, Glendale) on Thursday. That’s five days they have to sit and stew about this result.

“I think players will say ‘Hey we want to get back and play tomorrow so we can get this righted,'” Trotz said about the long lay-off. “It was disappointing for the group and obviously disappointing for the fans.”

Puck drops at 9:00pm Central on Halloween night. Catch all the action with us — in full costume — at Brewhouse South.


MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 5:30 remaining in regulation):
1. Alex Steen (STL)
2. Jaroslav Halak (STL)
3. TJ Oshie (STL)

1. Alex Steen (STL)
2. Jaroslav Halak (STL)
3. Jaden Schwartz (STL)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover //