Blues get another shot at Predators in rematch at Enterprise
ST. LOUIS — Interim head coach Craig Berube’s tenure leading the St. Louis Blues began with the same result that ended the Mike Yeo era — a loss.
Filip Forsberg‘s shorthanded breakaway goal in the second period broke a tie and propelled the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 win over the visiting Blues on Wednesday night. It was one of two shorthanded goals the Predators scored against Blues, who are under new management after Yeo was fired after a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
The bad news is that the cellar-dwelling Blues (7-10-3, 17 points) fell further behind the Central-division leading Predators (16-5-1, 33 points).
The good news is St. Louis gets another crack at Nashville as it hosts the Predators on Friday night.
“We know it’s not going to happen overnight, building confidence,” Blues center Brayden Schenn told NHL.com. “Obviously, this team expects a lot more out of themselves as far as what we’ve (given). We’re going to build it game by game. I thought we played a hard game tonight. We played fast, we competed for one another from the goalie out. If we do that on most nights, we’re going to beat a lot of teams.”
The Blues were able to take some positives from the loss.
Robert Thomas, a 2017 first-round pick, scored his first NHL goal in the first period to tie the game 1-1. The goal snapped a two-game scoreless streak that spanned 135 minutes, 27 seconds.
“It’s obviously frustrating,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo told NHL.com. “We had some really good looks offensively. I think if we start scoring those, you start feeling the puck, you start creating a little bit more pressure. I like the work ethic tonight, I liked the passion tonight. It’s a step in the right direction.”
Jake Allen made 29 saves for the Blues, who played perhaps one of their grittier games of the season.
“We got the passion back,” Pietrangelo told NHL.com. “It was one of the more intense games we’ve had in a while, and I think that started with our work ethic.”
The bigger note was the Pekka Rinne made 28 saves to earn his 320th career victory, passing Miikka Kiprusoff to become the winningest Finnish-born goaltender in NHL history.
“A long time ago, it wasn’t even close to being on my mind,” Rinne told NHL.com. “When I was just trying to battle my way into the league, these are the things you are going to wish for. It’s pretty cool. When you’re fortunate and stay in the League for a long time, you know you’re going to face some milestones. This one, for sure, is a cool one.”
Gaudreau said the Predators were expecting a tough challenge from the Blues.
“That was a huge win for us,” Gaudreau told NHL.com. “When you have a new coach like that, everyone’s fired up. We had to match that intensity and that energy and see that and I think we did.”