Jordin Tootoo usually demonstrates his toughness by fighting opponents or dishing out thundering hits. Tonight, however, it was his willingness to follow through on a shot, knowing that he was about to be run over, that led to the winning goal for Nashville in a 3-1 decision at St. Louis. The win finishes off the Preds' 4-game road trip with a 2-2 record, and sets the team up to finish the month of November with 8 out of 9 games on home ice, where they hope to make a move within the Central Division.
As always, you can click on the picture above to go to a photo gallery from tonight's game.
After the jump, we've got the video highlights, recap, and advanced even strength stats...
Before assistant coach Peter Horachek could even declare a "fast start" one of his keys to the game, the Preds gave up a bad goal; Brad Boyes got in behind the defense to slam a centering pass in for a 1-0 lead just 2:03 into the game. From that point on, Nashville dominated much of the action, out-chancing the Blues in both quantity and quality.
While Nashville enjoyed a healthy 36-22 shots on goal advantage, the gap stood even larger at 66-38 once Total Shots are considered (bringing in Missed and Blocked Shots). In particular, the reunited top line of Steve Sullivan, Jason Arnott, and J.P. Dumont kept buzzing around the St. Louis end; the trio combined for 11 shots on goal, and 22 Total Shots despite not putting one past former teammate Chris Mason in the St. Louis net.
That persistence did pay off for Patric Hornqvist once again, however, as he followed up on Joel Ward's hard work to stuff a loose puck past Mason midway through the 2nd period to tie the game at 1-1. It was Hornqvist's 5th goal of the season, tying him with Shea Weber for the team lead.
The longer the game remained tied at 1-1, however, the higher the tension rose during the third period. A tripping call against Ward gave the Blues a power play chance, but Nashville's penalty killers did a fine job despite a key forward sitting in the box; in 6:00 of total St. Louis PP time during the game, the Blues never put a shot on net.
The difference-maker came with just 3:43 left in the 3rd, when Tootoo waited on a puck coming his way and took the time to fire a strong shot on net, despite a Blues defender getting ready to drill him into the boards. The shot found its way through Mason for the 2-1 Preds lead, and from there on it was a matter of hemming St. Louis into their own end for much of the remaining time.
David Legwand was rewarded for a strong game (including winning 13 of 18 faceoffs) with an empty-net goal to seal the win. Like Tootoo's, the goal was Leggy's 1st of the season.
Pekka Rinne was excellent when called upon in the Predators net, stopping several dangerous chances including a glove save while lying on his back late in the 1st period. He's now won 4 of his last 5 decisions.
Areas of concern coming out of this game continue to be the power play (only 3 shots on goal in 7:00 of 5-on-4 play), and the continuing disappearance of Martin Erat (17:29 of ice time with but one shot on goal).
Looking at the advanced Even Strength statistics, we see dominant shot totals by the top line and the defense pair of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Andreas Thuresson continues putting pucks on net, and even the energy line of Belak-Smithson-Tootoo had positive results in limited action.
|Even Strength||Individual Totals||Team Totals While Player Is On Ice|
|Player||Pos||EV TOI||Shots||Shts Blkd||Missed Shts||Blocks||SOG For||SOG Ag||SOG +/-||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|