NHL

Predators score three in first en route to win over Blues

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Associated Press
2/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
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ST. LOUIS -- Martin Erat and his Nashville teammates got a little revenge Tuesday night.

Erat had a goal and two assists, Pekka Rinne stopped 31 shots and the Predators broke out of a season-long scoring slump with three first-period goals on the way to a 6-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.

Ryan Ellis, Rich Clune and Nick Spaling scored in the opening period for Nashville, which won its third in a row. The Predators entered with an NHL-low 12 regulation goals in their first eight games.

St. Louis, which beat Nashville 3-0 at home on Jan. 24 and 4-3 in Nashville on Jan. 21, lost its second straight after winning four in a row.

Erat said the 3-0 loss 12 days ago in St. Louis was still on his mind entering Tuesday's game.

"They embarrassed us the last time we played here," Erat said. "This feels great. We got them back."

Nashville completed a 4-2-1 road trip, tying the longest in franchise history.

Rinne improved to 3-2-3 this season. Colin Wilson had three assists for the Predators.

"Our offence, sometimes it can be mental," Wilson said. "Guys got a few points and we started feeling good about ourselves. That's going to help in the long run."

Six players scored for Nashville -- five in the first 30:09.

The Predators entered averaging a league-worst 1.5 goals per game. But they broke out early, tying their season-high output of three goals in the game's first 19:13.

"Anytime we can score more than one goal, I'll take it," coach Barry Trotz joked.

Nashville scored three times on its first eight shots against Brian Elliott. Ellis scored on a power play 2:10 into the game on assists from Wilson and Erat. The goal snapped the Predators' scoring drought of 184 minutes, 54 seconds in St. Louis dating to Dec. 30, 2011. It also halted an 0-for-17 skid on the power play.

Clune and Spaling scored 3:20 apart late in the first period to push the lead to 3-0.

"We came out in the first period and did what we wanted to do," Trotz said. "We were able to frustrate them and capitalize on our chances."

Elliott, who gave up four goals on 11 shots, was replaced by Jake Allen midway through the second period. Kevin Klein and Gabriel Bourque added second-period goals to put the Predators in front 5-0.

"This is huge for our confidence," said Erat, who is playing with a sore foot.

Rinne, like Erat, said it felt good to beat St. Louis after the two losses to the Blues earlier in the season.

"This is a great win for us. It's not easy to come into this building and do this," Rinne said. "We scored on our scoring chances right away."

The Blues had allowed just seven goals in the first period over their first eight games. They had outscored their opponents 31-19 on the way to a 6-2 start.

"Maybe it was a case of feeling too good about ourselves," captain David Backes said. "(Nashville) came out and played a hard road game. And we needed to respond."

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock agreed.

"This is a team loss that has been coming for a little while. We're allowing the other teams' competitiveness to frustrate us. And it pushes us into individual hockey rather than team hockey," he said.

NOTES: The Predators will host Los Angeles on Thursday in their first home game since Jan. 21. ... St. Louis G Jaroslav Halak is out with a groin injury sustained last Friday in Detroit. He is expected to practice this Friday. ... Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko had a five-game point streak snapped. ... Nashville forward Patric Hornqvist is out at least three weeks with a knee sprain sustained Jan. 26 at Anaheim. ... The Blues gave up five goals or more for only the third time in their last 51 home games. ... St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher was in attendance. ... Five of the Predators' nine games this season have gone to a shootout. ... Chris Stewart had seven of the Blues' 32 shots on goal.

Richard Clune Colin Wilson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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