Thursday, January 29, 2015

Predators Pick Up A Point, Fall In SO to the Blues

The Nashville Predators met the St. Louis Blues at Scott Trade Center for their last regular season meeting of the season.

It was a physical affair that took a shootout to decide the winner, which the Blues won 2-1 to capture a 5-4 win.

The Predators jumped out to a 2-0 lead off a power play goal by Mike Fisher and an even strength goal from Filip Forsberg as the Predators challenged Blues netminder Brian Elliott early in the contest.

The Blues exploded for three goals in the second period as Jaden Schwartz, T.J. Oshie, and Steve Ott tallied, the last 2 goals coming just 26 seconds apart.

Mike Fisher tied the game at 3 with a shorthanded goal in the second period.

Ryan Reaves gave the Blues a 4-3 lead late in the second period with a blast that eluded Carter Hutton.

James Neal tied the game late in the third period with a quick shot from the slot.

The overtime was scoreless and the game would be decided in a shootout.

In the shootout, T.J. Oshie  and Kevin Shattenkirk scored for the Blues while Roman Josi was the only scorer for the Predators.

Some observations:

  • Mike Fisher's goal in the first period was his 500th career point. Most of those points have come from his gritty play in the hard areas, and tonight's goal was no different. A shot from the point from Roman Josi deflected off his shoulder, off the end board, and off Elliott's back into the goal. Every team needs a player that can get those gritty, greasy goals, and Fisher fills that role well for the Predators.
  • We have seen Filip Forsberg score some amazing goals this season. One aspect of his game that is often overlooked is his fearlessness in going to the front of the net. His goal in the second period was, in my opinion, one of his best of the season. He was in the hard area in front of the net, gathered the puck in traffic, and had the hands to flip the puck over a sprawling Elliott. That was a quality goal from a high traffic area with lots of bodies around him, and that is an underrated aspect of his game. This was Forsberg's team leading 17th goal.
  • The Predators have two shorthanded goals this season. Both have come against the Blues. Fisher collected the Predators second shortie of the season off a great job of forechecking by Calle Jarnkrok.
  • Carter Hutton made some big saves, some really good saves, and I really can't fault him for the first three Blues goals. But as happens too often, he gave up a goal on an unscreened shot to Ryan Reaves for the Blues 4th goal. These are the kind of shots that have plagued Hutton in almost every game he has played, and frankly, these are the kinds of shots that an NHL netminder has too stop. All the time. Hutton's biggest problem is his inconsistency in making those types of saves.
  • In the four previous contests with the Blues, the Predators took 10 penalties. Tonight, they were uncharacteristically undisciplined and took 6 penalties. The penalty kill did a great job against the League's number one power play unit, killing all 6 man advantage attempts by the Blues.
  • Every game this season between the Predators and the Blues was decided by one goal. The Predators captured the season series 3-2.
  • With the point tonight, the Predators have 68 points. The Blues have 64 points, and the Blackhawks have 62.
This was a tough, hard hitting contest, and the Predators played a solid road game. Some defensive breakdowns and a bad goal cost them the win. Yet the team did manage to pick up a point in this critical divisional game.

It doesn't get any easier as the Predators travel to Colorado for a matchup against the Avalanche tomorrow night.

My three stars:

1. Mike Fisher

2. T.J. Oshie

3. Roman Josi

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