Five things about Monday’s game…
– Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko is a talented playmaker that is quickly becoming the best offensive player in St. Louis. Following Saturday’s two-goal NHL debut, he notched a goal and two assists for the Blues on Monday night. He’s going to be a force for years to come.
– Nashville’s power play seems to have picked up where it left off last season. They scored two power play goals on six opportunities and had good chances all night. That could be a big difference maker down the stretch this season.
“We have been playing together all last year and the start of this year and we know each other pretty well,” Patric Hornqvist said of the man advantage. “Weber has a great shot and Erat knows to handle the puck on the half-wall and he is able to create space for the other guys. We have been clicking. We have to keep wanting to get better and keep scoring goals.”
– Pekka Rinne hasn’t quite reached his A-game yet. He made some spectacular saves against the Blues but seems to be having trouble seeing the puck and controlling rebounds. He’s also been very vulnerable to the backhand shot in the shootout.
His counterpart, Jaroslav Halak, was pulled after Patric Hornqvist put the Predators on top 3-2 midway through the second period. Brian Elliott was called upon in relief for St. Louis and turned away all 13 shots he faced.
“I thought he played really good,” said Blues forward Alex Steen. ”Big saves when we needed them.”
– Craig Smith is struggling out of the gate. After being moved down to the third line, he didn’t have a good game against the Blues. There were two separate occasions when he had the puck and was ready to shoot and just completely whiffed on the shot. He’s also gone 0-for-2 on shootout attempts so far this season.
– Paul Gaustad missed the game with an upper-body injury and was listed as “questionable” for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota by Barry Trotz after the game.
Three stars of the game…
1. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL… Tarasenko had a three-point night, notching one goal and two assists to give him the early lead in Calder Trophy consideration.
2. Patric Hornqvist, NSH… Hornqvist also had a three-point night with one goal and two assists. He had a beautiful saucer pass that led to the first goal of the game by Colin Wilson, and he was a force for the Predators all game long.
3. Kevin Shattenkirk, STL… Shattenkirk recorded two assists on the night and logged 20:27 of ice time for the Blues. He also led the Blues in blocked shots with two.