Thursday, November 11, 2010

Goc Goal Gives Preds Shoot Out Win Over Blues

Marcel Goc scored in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 victory over the St Louis Blues at the Scotttade Center on Thursday night for their first win in their last six games.

After the shootout went to sudden death tied 1-1, with Preds shooting last, Marcel Goc went to Halak's left and put the puck over his outstretched leg to seal the victory for the Predators.

The Predators had fought the Blues for every inch of the ice and forced play into overtime on a goal by J.P. Dumont late in the third period.

The Predators first goal came from Cal O'Reilly to tie the game in the second period after the Preds went down at the end of the first on a goal by David Backes. The Blues second goal came from Mark D'Agostini.

Pekka Rinne got his first win in almost three weeks, stopping 21 of 23 Blues shots and three of four in the shootout. Jaroslav Halak lost for the second night in a row, stopping 24 of 26 and two of four in the shootout.

Both teams wanted to start the game with a fast pace as they each had their own demons to expel. The Preds had lost five in a row and the Blues were coming off an 8-1 thrashing by Columbus the night before.

The first real scoring chance for either team was at 9:43 in the first period when a Jay McClement shot slowly leaked out behind Rinne into the blue ice and was headed toward the red line when Goc arrived and took the puck to the other end of the ice to be a hero early in the contest.

The Blues got on the scoreboard first at 18:22 on a broken play when the puck was sent sailing into the air above the net with some incredible hang time. Backes pushed Steve Sullivan out of the way, took a pass from Andy McDonald, and cleared space to have a open shot at the the net to put the Blues ahead 1-0.

The period ended with St Louis leading in shots 9-4 and also the Corsi 17-11.

The second period started with few shots and multiple infractions that led to two Blues penalties and one by the Preds, none of which resulted in goals.

The Predators finally got on the board at 13:44 when Sullivan skated the puck into the Blues zone and passed to Frankie Bouillon who shot the puck through traffic at the net. Halak left a short rebound and O'Reilly put the puck in the net.

Back to back penalties struck the Blues at 15:54 and 16:17 to give the Preds 1:37 of five on three man advantage but they failed to get a shot.

The second period shot totals were the opposite of the first with the Preds outshooting the Blues 10-3 and leading the Corsi 18-11.

The third period started with more pushing and shoving between the teams that finally led to a coincidental minor between Dumont and Alex Steen for roughing setting up two minutes of four on four play at 5:37.

After the initial faceoff, D'Agostini got past Kevin Klein and took a pass from Patrik Berglund who skated toward Rinne and put the puck into the net to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

At 8:24, tempers flared again with penalties to Patric Hornqvist and Shea Weber for the Preds and to D'Agostini for the Blues to set up a St. Louis man advantage. The Preds penalty kill held firm.

Dumont tied the game 2-2 at 13:08 in the third when David Legwand fired a shot wide of the net that took an odd bounce off the boards and Dumont threw it toward Halak and the puck found the net.

With 1:50 left, Rinne made the save of game when he stopped a point blank shot from Vladimir Sobotka that was later reviewed.

There was fierce action as the clock wound down but the Preds and Blues found themselves playing overtime hockey. For the period the Preds outshot the Blues 12-8 and led the Corsi 17-12.

In overtime, with 1:19 remaining, Alexander Sulzer let Steen get away from him and was called for tripping. Miraculously, the Predators survived the rest of the overtime four on three and took the contest to the shoot out.

In the shootout, D'Agostini and O'Reilly scored in the first round. Brad Boyes, Andy McDonald, and Berglund missed for the Blues while Sullivan and David Legwand failed in their attempts for the Preds, before Goc finished the contest with his short wrister.

There were plenty of unsung heroes for both teams but the Predators played better than they have since their losing streak started against the Blues on October 28. Patric Hornqvist's effort was notable as he intimidated the Blues players every shift that he was on the ice.

In turn, the Blues had several players step up to play higher roles after T. J. Oshie, ankle surgery rendered him to the injury list for at least three months.

The Predators now lead the season series with the Blues 2-1 and will face them for the final time at the Bridgestone Arena on November 24.

The Preds returned home after the game where they will prepare for Saturday night's contest with the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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