Despite the excitement of playing in their new 3rd jerseys for the first time, the Nashville Predators offense ran dry against the St. Louis Blues tonight in a 3-1 loss. Former Pred Chris Mason was the difference-maker in goal for the Blues, as he stopped 37 of 38 Nashville shots.
Follow after the jump for the recap and video highlights...
The combination of strong goaltending by Mason, with the lack of finishing ability by the Nashville shooters combined to hold the Preds offense in check tonight. As noted in the preview, St. Louis boasts the best save percentage in 5-on-5 hockey in the NHL right now, while Nashville has the coldest shooters in 5-on-5, so it was no surprise to see Mason turn aside 29 of 30 even-strength shots tonight.
The game was typically tight and intense until the final moments; St. Louis didn't get the initial score until 1:25 left in the second period, when Brad Boyes lifted a shot that deflected off Pekka Rinne into the Nashville net, catching Rinne leaning a little bit off the short-side post. Fans at the game were frustrated to see a couple of pucks end up in the Blues net, but only after a whistle had blown to stop play; neither was even close to being in the "intent to blow" zone of uncertainty.
While Dave Scatchard scored his first goal as a Predator to bring Nashville within 2-1 (as he stormed the net and knocked the puck in as Mason was trying to glove it), he didn't have time to celebrate, as Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo prompted a fight immediately after the score. It took St. Louis just under two minutes to answer back on the scoreboard - former Pred Paul Kariya was left wide open in front of the net wire he fired a centering pass by Rinne for the two-goal lead that iced the game.
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