Predators 6, Blues 2: First win in North America for 2022-23

It took long enough, but the Predators finally won a game in North America.

It’s no secret that the Nashville Predators were coming into this rivalry matchup against the St. Louis Blues hungry. With no wins on home ice or even in North America, it was about time that the gold and navy secured one, and they did.

What Happened?

After news broke that Eeli Tolvanen was a healthy scratch, fans were rightfully upset, but the performance on the ice without him was not a problem as the game went on. The Predators didn’t get off to a good start at all. Within the first two and a half minutes, they gave up a goal to Robert Thomas and took a penalty to give them a power play.

After the Predators began to find their groove throughout the period, Tanner Jeannot found the back of the net on a rebound off a faceoff win by Colton Sissons to tie the game at 1-1.

After being stuck in their own zone for the final minute of the first period, the Predators came out unscathed and in a tie game. The Blues took a 2-1 lead slightly over six minutes into the second period thanks to a gorgeous one-time power play rocket off the stick of Brayden Schenn in the right faceoff circle. But the entire period shifted when Michael McCarron and Zach Sanford scored two goals within a 37-second span to give the Predators a lead they would take into the second intermission. Sanford’s goal, in particular, was one of note, considering the move he made around a defender to wrap the puck around the net.

In the third, the Predators just kept piling on. First, Ryan Johansen scored off a massive rebound from goaltender Thomas Greiss’ pad thanks to a Filip Forsberg wrist shot, taking advantage of a big 3-on-1 rush after a bad Blues turnover. Next, it was Roman Josi getting his first goal of the season off a fortunate bounce off the back boards and into the net off Greiss’ pads. And finally, Mikael Granlund scored the empty netter after Blues head coach Craig Berube pulled the goaltender with over five minutes remaining in the third.

The key player in the third period wasn’t any goal scorers. Instead, it was Matt Duchene who tied the franchise record for assists in a period with three. He recorded two secondary assists on Johansen and Josi’s goals while tallying a primary assist on Granlund’s empty netter.

Juuse Saros ended the game in net with 33 saves on 35 shots and a .943 save percentage while making some key saves when the Blues kept the Predators hemmed in their zone.

Overall, the Predators had a great game producing expected goals. They had 5.04 xGF total, with Granlund making the highest at 1.23. Per Natural Stat Trick, the Predators controlled 58.87% of the expected goals and 60% of the Corsi.

There were indeed ups and downs for the Predators as the game progressed, but overall, there was plenty to like from the home squad. Their record improves to 3-4-1, and they can finally get that elusive first North American win of the season out of the way.