After a 8-3 beatdown against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, the St. Louis Blues headed back to Scottrade to face a Division rival; the Nashville Predators.
“We knew it was going to be a good game,” said Alex Pietrangelo. “Both teams are playing well. They’re trying to catch us, obviously. It was a good test for us and tomorrow will be the same.”
Ryan Johansen registered his third goal of the season just 2:32 into the game. Nashville led 1-0 early in the first period.
The Blues had two power plays within the first ten minutes of the game. Johansen was sent to the box for tripping just 4:56 in, then the Predators suffered a bench penalty for too many men on the ice a few minutes later. Despite the advantages, the Blues failed to put on offensive pressure. They tallied a few shots on the first power play but barely entered the offensive zone on the second. Once both penalties were killed, St. Louis struggled to break out of their defensive zone. While they escaped the first period only down one goal, they were playing lazy, sloppy hockey.
St. Louis turned their play around in the second period. Forechecking and physical pressure increased, forcing more Nashville turnovers which led to decent scoring chances. The score remained 1-0 at the end of two, but the Blues tied the Predator’s 19 shots on goal after being outshot 12 to 6 in the first period,
Despite the improvement in play, St. Louis failed to get on the board in the third as well. Austin Watson added salt to the wound with an empty net goal to end the game at 2-0. With the loss, the Blues’ record goes to 16-6-1 (33 pts) and the Predator’s improves to 14-6-2 (30 pts).
“We just got to find a way to score,” explained Pietrangelo. “When we don’t score, you can’t win. Hutts played well. Frustrating we don’t get any (goals) especially when you had the power play opportunities.”
“I think the execution was a problem the whole night,” said Yeo. “I think we had open guys and we didn’t see them or didn’t hit them. We have an opportunity to go on the forecheck and we’re dumping it in on the goalie… Those are the little things—the execution plays—that I felt we weren’t sharp enough to try to create some offense.”
The Blues will battle another Central Division foe at home tomorrow night when they play the Minnesota Wild at 7:00 p.m.