O'Reilly scores in return to St. Louis, Predators beat Blues
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ryan O’Reilly scored for Nashville in his return to St. Louis, and the Predators beat the Blues 8-3 on Friday for their fourth consecutive victory.
“He’s one of a kind,” Nashville coach Andrew Brunette said of O'Reilly. “We’re lucky to have him.”
Filip Forsberg and Luke Evangelista each had two goals and an assist for Nashville, which dropped six of seven right before its win streak. Kiefer Sherwood had a goal and two assists, and Yakov Ternin and rookie Spencer Stastney also scored.
“Just showing up at the rink in times of the slump versus now, it’s night and day,” Evangelista said. “We’re having a ton of fun. We’re looking to stay hot.”
It was O'Reilly's first game back at Enterprise Center since his trade from the Blues to Toronto in February. The forward signed with the Predators in free agency this summer.
O’Reilly was the 2019 Conn Smythe winner as the MVP of the Blues’ Stanley Cup Championship playoff run. The team recognized its former captain with a tribute on the videoboard during a first-period break.
“I did watch it. It’s crazy,” O'Reilly said. “Obviously, it was such a special time here. It was such a nice thing for the Blues to do.”
Pavel Buchnevich, Robert Thomas and Jake Neighbours scored for the Blues, who had won two in a row. Joel Hofer made 11 saves on 15 shots before he was replaced by Jordan Binnington in the second period.
Nashville goaltender Kevin Lankinen stopped 36 shots.
Nashville scored 28 seconds apart in the first period to take an early lead, and then added another one later in the period.
The Predators went up 1-0 at 6:57 when Forsberg tapped the puck in from the crease. Trenin got his third goal at 7:25, finishing a 3-on-1 advantage. A review showed Hofer knocked the puck in with his skate.
Evangelista converted a rebound of a shot by Sherwood at 14:53, giving Nashville a 3-0 advantage.
Stastney scored his first NHL goal 2:45 into the second, lifting the Predators to a 4-1 lead.
“I shot from the point. I don’t know if that’s going to go in on my stick all the time but today it did,” Stastney said. “I feel fortunate.”
Hofer was then replaced by Binnington. The reverse happened Wednesday night in Arizona when Binnington was pulled in the second and Hofer entered. The Blues went on to a 6-5 win over the Coyotes.
“They’re in the same boat as our team right now,” Blues coach Craig Berube said about his goalies. “We don’t like giving up these goals and they don’t like giving them up either. So it’s a team thing and goalies are a part of it. So we all got to be better, goalies included.”
The switch didn’t slow down Nashville at all. O’Reilly scored a power-play goal at 4:46 for his 10th this season. Evangelista scored 74 seconds later. Forsberg snapped in a wrist shot at 17:29.
“Scoring the goal, yeah, that felt pretty darn good,” O'Reilly said. “When you score against your old team, it always feels good.”
Blues defenseman Justin Faulk said his team “made some bone-headed decisions at times.”
“They had some energy there, they had legs, they were on top of us everywhere we went," he said. "We couldn’t solve it.”
Predators: Host Edmonton on Sunday night.
Blues: Play Sunday afternoon at Chicago.
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