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Wilson, Erat nab three points each, Clune his first career goal as Preds beat Blues…

Who says the Nashville Predators don’t have an offense?

In front of 15,206 at Scottrade Center, the Predators caught fire, beating the Blues 6-1. The win gave Nashville points in five of the seven games on their road trip.

Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne collected 31 saves, including 14 in each of the final two periods, for the victory. He is now 3-2-3 on the year.

Sophomore defenseman Ryan Ellis got the Preds on the board with an early power play marker. While Colin Wilson and Martin Erat were using puck movement to sustain some pressure, Ellis was able to creep into a backdoor position. His attempted pass ended up going in off of goaltender Brian Elliott for the score.

The unlikeliest of goal scorers would extend the Nashville lead. Wilson beat Blues defenseman Barret Jackman to the loose puck, broke in and fired a shot at Elliott who made the save. The rebound eventually came to tough guy Rich Clune for his first career NHL marker.

But the league’s worst offense wasn’t done yet. Brandon Yip charged into the zone, calling for the puck. Once Roman Josi got it to him, he attempted a wrap around but Elliott got his pad on it. Nick Spaling, however, was off to the side waiting patiently for the rebound. He snapped it home to give Nashville the 3-0 lead.

Kevin Klein’s second period goal would spell the end of the night for Elliott. Jake Allen would take his place between the St. Louis pipes in what would be his first career NHL appearance.

But Allen would fare no different. On the first shot he faced, he allowed a goal. Wilson split the St. Louis defense and fired a backhander up and over Allen but hit the post. As the puck caromed toward the crease, Gabriel Boruque deflected it in with his skate while crashing the net.

Before the middle frame would end, the Blues would get on the board. While Josi was in the box for holding, Alex Pietrangelo managed a deceptive backhander that went in off of Rinne’s mask to cut the Nashville lead to four.

In the final stanza, Erat would connect to close out the scoring.

It was the end of a long road trip for the Predators. They started on a good note, beating the Minnesota Wild on January 22 but then things went south. They were thoroughly outplayed by the Blues two days later, lost in the shootout to the Anaheim Ducks on January 26 and got blanked by the Phoenix Coyotes last Monday.

But then, all of a sudden, they seemed to turn things around. They still weren’t scoring goals but they managed to come away with victories over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings last Thursday and the then-undefeated San Jose Sharks on Saturday. The triumph over St. Louis tonight continued their upward trend, giving them three wins a row, all coming against quality opponents that will certainly be in the post season.

The Predators will finally return to their home ice on Thursday night. The Kings will try to exact a certain measure of revenge for their 2-1 shootout loss to the Preds last week.

Puck drops at Bridgestone Arena at 7:00pm Central.

PHOTO CREDIT: Melissa Grissom (used with permission)