First period defensive breakdowns gave the Blues three goals as the defense hung starting netminder Pekka Rinne out to dry. The Blues had an easy time in front of the Predators net, scoring off of defensive miscues and fortuitous bounces. The result was that Rinne was pulled in the first period and hopefully received some apologies from the blueliners when he got to the bench. By the time he reached the safety of the bench with 10 minutes left in the first period, the Blues held a 3-0 lead.
Mike Fisher cut into the Blues lead with his first goal of the season, and although the Predators out shot the Blues in the period, were staring at a 2 goal deficit.
The Predators cut the Blues lead to one off a goal by David Legwand from a nice feed from Patric Hornqvist early in the second period. Once again, the team showed good effort and jump. The Predators effort in the offensive zone was solid, with good hustle that created some scoring chances.
However, the Blues power play capitalized again to stretch the lead to 4-2. Carter Hutton got a piece of a shot from the point, but could not stop it from leaking over the line. The Predators PK, which was a problem last season, continued to bite the Predators in this contest.
The Predators offensive effort was stymied by the Blues in the third period as they mustered 7 shots on goal but could not get a puck past Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak and fell by a final score of 4-2.
- The Predators special teams looked bad. The Blues were 2 for 2 with the man advantage before playing with the puck late in the game on a double minor high sticking penalty. The Blues took just 3 seconds to score on their first power play. The Predators had 3 power plays and on two of them did not get a shot on net. This has to improve quickly for the Predators to have success this season.
- Seth Jones looked good in his debut. He handled the puck well and was in good position throughout the game. He plays with confidence, and his game will continue to improve.
- Mattias Ekholm was paired with Jones, and played a good game. He was positionally sound and made no glaring mistakes, which is a plus considering his previous stints with the big club. If he and Jones can gel, they could be a very good defensive pairing.
- Rinne did not have much help, but it appeared that he went down to the ice very quickly on the Blues second goal. The hope is that this outing was an aberration.
- The effort and jump by the Predators was good, but once again, the inability to finish their chances cost them an opportunity to win this game. They out shot the Blues over the first two periods, and the Preds are going to have to figure out a way to finish more of their chances. If they cannot, this is going to be another long season.
The Predators are a team that has to have maximum effort and they have to finish their chances to have success. They had a good effort tonight, but failed on the second half of that equation.
They get a chance to work on that tomorrow night against Colorado.
My three stars:
1. Jaroslav Halak
2. T.J. Oshie
3. Mike Fisher