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Preds offense disappears in shutout loss to Blues

The Nashville Predators were completely dominated by the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. To put it in proper context, the Blues managed 11 shots in the second period alone while the Predators managed just 13 shots in the entire game.

Nashville just wasn’t able to create consistent offensive pressure all night long and fell to the Blues by a 3-0 score. Defensively, the Predators didn’t play a bad game. St. Louis only had 24 shots on goal, which isn’t an astronomical amount either. However, the Blues were able to capitalize on chances that the Predators gave them to come away with their third victory in four games.

T.J. Oshie scored first for the Blues on the power play, and Patrik Berglund was able to capitalize after being awarded a penalty shot to give the Blues a 2-0 lead after two periods of play. Rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko notched the only 5-on-5 goal of the game to continue his early lead in Calder Trophy consideration.

With the loss, the Predators fall to 1-1-2 on the young season. They still have five games remaining on their season high seven-game road trip, which will continue on Saturday night in Anaheim. The Predators simply cannot afford to continue to fall behind in their division over the course of the road trip and will have to find ways to generate some offense going forward.

There really isn’t much to say about this game. The Blues completely suffocated the Predators and came out with a dominating victory. While it’s only four games into the season, it’s pretty clear that the Blues are one of the best teams in the NHL when they’re on their game. Nashville is just simply not on the same level as the Blues are right now. Look for the Predators to come out with a big focus on shooting the puck on Saturday night in Anaheim.

Five things from tonight’s game…

- With the loss, Pekka Rinne drops to 0-1-2 on the season. He hasn’t gotten a whole lot of help in his three starts so far, but his ability to make stops in shootout or penalty shot situations has been uncharacteristically poor. The Predators will go as far as Rinne takes them this year.

- St. Louis is a real threat to win the Stanley Cup. They won the Central Division last season and they look very capable of winning the whole thing this season. They have good offensive weapons in T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko, and their defense and goaltending is second to none in the NHL. They’ve been very impressive so far.

- Shea Weber had four of his shots blocked. He really has not been a factor offensively so far this season. St. Louis did a really good job of getting in his shooting lane, and he has still yet to register a point this season after signing his huge deal last off-season.

- Rich Clune had his second fight in as many games and seems to be comfortable standing up for his teammates. However, the Preds have arguably the best fighter in the league in Brian McGrattan so it’s hard to continue to justify keeping Clune in the lineup unless he shows more of an ability to contribute.

- It’s hard to imagine the Predators playing worse than they did in this game. It could be used as motivation to finish out the rest of the road trip on a positive note.

Three stars of tonight’s game…

1. Patrik Berglund, STL… Berglund notched a goal on the penalty shot and also notched an assist on Oshie’s power play goal in the first period. He was strong on both sides of the puck all night long and was a thorn in Nashville’s side.

2. T.J. Oshie, STL… Oshie had the game-winning goal on the power play in the first period and was his usual disruptive self on the defensive end. He’s developed into a complete, effective player for the Blues.

3. Jaroslav Halak, STL… This was probably the easiest shutout of Halak’s career, which is why he’s only the third star of the game. He wasn’t tested too much but was up to the challenge on those times where he was tested.

Highlights…

 
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