Nashville Predators 2, St. Louis Blues 5: Little upside in ugly loss

The game wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t close either.

The Nashville Predators hit the road tonight for a one-game trip, facing the also-struggling St. Louis Blues in Missouri.

Tommy Novak appeared to get the scoring started early, putting a rebound past a discombobulated Blues team just over two minutes in. Jeremy Lauzon had checked Noel Acciari, getting tangled up with him along the boards and sending Acciari to the ground in pain, before crashing into Jordan Binnington in the crease. Play wasn’t stopped for the Acciari injury, though he went down the tunnel as soon as the whistle sounded, but the Blues challenged the goal for interference and got it easily overturned. The score remained 0-0.

Pavel Buchnevich took a hooking penalty while trying to make a defensive play, and the Preds got a chance on the power play. Although they did manage to get some shots on Binnington, this fizzled like most of the rest of their opportunities lately.

The Blues responded with their first sustained offense of the period as the teams returned to even strength, managing to keep things going their way almost to the very end of the period before the Preds managed to push back. While Binnington had to make a few good saves, most notably on Roman Josi, the Preds didn’t manage to score.

Eleven seconds into the second period, Brayden Schenn scored to put the Blues up 1-0. Nashville responded well, with Colton Sissons getting it back to tie the game 1-1 a couple of minutes later, but they were unable to sustain the momentum. Juuso Pärssinen put the puck over the glass, and while the Preds were able to kill the power play they weren’t really able to get possession back.

Brandon Saad scored on an impressive individual effort at 8:30 of the second, restoring the Blues’ lead. Late in the period Mikael Granlund took a holding penalty, giving the Blues another chance on the power play. This time they didn’t waste it, as Jordan Kyrou scored to make it 3-1.

The Blues scored again early in the third, a double deflection credited to Robert Thomas at 1:03. Less than a minute after that, Alexey Toropchenko scored to make it 5-1 Blues.

Nashville got a second chance on the power play when Schenn took a slashing penalty, but that was nullified when Acciari drew a hooking penalty with a great shorthanded chance. Nino Niederreiter saved a goal but headed to the box. There were no further goals before the teams returned to 5v5, but shortly after that Cole Smith and Tyler Tucker dropped the gloves.

While Smith and Tucker were still serving their majors, Dante Fabbro was called for holding the stick, giving the Blues a brief power play—brief, as Justin Faulk was called for interference just eight seconds in. Again, neither team managed to score, and the next penalty was Colton Parayko’s tripping penalty with under four minutes left in the game.

This, too, was interrupted halfway through, as Filip Forsberg high-sticked Acciari and headed to the box. Mattias Ekholm scored during the 4v4 to make it 5-2 with just over two minutes remaining. That would do it, as time mercifully ran out on an uninspiring effort.