After falling hard on their butts in Raleigh against the Hurricanes Tuesday night, the Predators returned home to face an all too familiar foe this season; the St. Louis Blues. Now, you’re probably thinking (or saying), “This is old news; the Blues have been in the Central Division longer than the Preds have been in existence.” True, but when was the last time Nashville and St. Louis became the equivalent of “big brother vs. little brother”, knocking each other for first place in the hearts of mom and dad (A.K.A. the Central Division)? In my personal opinion, Chicago took on the role of “big brother” after Detroit left for the Wild, Wild… East(ern) Conference. Though Chicago [fans] is still a pain in the rear end, this season has definitely been a “Nashville vs. St. Louis” for keeps and it doesn’t look like either side is going to back off any time soon.
Coming into Nashville on a four-game hot streak, St. Louis is just about cruising along, picking up NHL veteran goaltender (and household name) Martin Brodeur this week. Brodeur spent the last twenty-one *twenty-one* years with the New Jersey Devils organization until entering free agency after the end of last season. This man has won the Stanley Cup three times, won the Vezina Trophy four times, the William M. Jennings Trophy five times, and a multitude of other ones on top of those mentioned. In a word, the man’s a legend and will end up in the Hall of Fame sooner rather than later.
Okay, let’s get off the Marty Brodeur kicker and move on to the game
(warning: potato-quality .gif overload below):
- Vladimir Tarasenko started the Blues off in the right direction at 5:46 for his fifteenth goal of the season.
- After Tarasenko’s goal, Coach Peter Laviolette called a time out to essentially remind the Predators that they had left Raleigh a day ago and it was time to wake up and get in the game.
- Apparently, Laviolette’s pep talked did some magic because Filip Forsberg would match Tarasenko at 14:10 with his eleventh goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (14) would nab the lone assist on Forsberg’s goal.
- Eric Nystrom would give Nashville the 2-1 lead with just fifty-seven seconds left in the first period for his fifth goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (15) and Mike Fisher (1) would collect the assists.
- Mike Ribeiro (who apparently took a lot from Laviolette’s pep talk) started the second period out in favor of Nashville, nailing his eight goal of the season at 1:25. James Neal (6) and Filip Forsberg (14) would do some assisting.
- Ah, but Vladimir Tarasenko would retaliate at 3:51 for his second goal of the night.
- With a breakaway sent from the Hockey Gods, Colin Wilson nailed a backhander on Brodeur at 9:30 for his fifth goal of the season. Roman Josi (11) and Craig Smith (8) helped assist #33 in the breakaway.
- Jaden Schwartz would give St. Louis a reason to fight at 12:32, putting the Blues within one of tying with Nashville.
Unfortunately for the Blues, their four-game winning streak would end as Nashville was able to hold off the extra attacker to seal the victory and the Central Division lead. With this victory, Nashville is now 17-6-2 on the season where St. Louis has now fallen to 16-8-2. Ah, but Nashville is back at it on Saturday night as the Chicago Blackhawks bop into town.