for this game

Fluke goal gives Predators 13th in row over Blues

Jan 7, 2007 - 5:48 AM
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Defenseman Jay McKee helped the St. Louis Blues find another way to lose to the Nashville Predators.

J.P. Dumont's pass attempt went in off McKee's skate with 4:12 remaining in the third period, snapping a tie and giving the Predators a 3-2 victory over the Blues, who have lost 13 straight in the series.

Entering without a win over Nashville since April 3, 2004, St. Louis battled back from a pair of deficits in this one. But with defenseman Dennis Wideman in the penalty box late in the third, Nashville found a way to remain unbeaten against its Central Division rival over the last two seasons.

"It's surprising," Nashville's Steve Sullivan said. "They've worked hard to better themselves. They have a great work ethic and they are playing well of late."

Attempting to feed Sullivan in the low slot from the right faceoff dot, Dumont watched the puck carom off McKee's right skate and into the net for his ninth goal of the campaign and first in six games.

"I saw Sully come on the back door to come in front of the net for the tip play," Dumont said. "Lucky for me, I missed him and it hit the skate of the defenseman there, I think it was McKee, and went in. ... We had a good bounce tonight."

"That's a tough bounce," McKee said. "When a team is as hot as they are and play as well at home, they don't win as many games as they do without getting bounces like that. I knew they were looking for the high tip play, which a lot of teams do, and I tried to get up on Sullivan there and it just caught me on the heel on the way through."

The stroke of luck improved the Predators' record to 5-0-0 this campaign over the Blues, who were swept of their eight-game set in 2005-06. Of Nashville's 13 straight wins over St. Louis, eight have been decided by one goal and another two featured empty-net tallies.

"Every team has a team that every time you play them, it is always a tight game," Dumont said. "This year, St. Louis has played us extremely well. Every time we play St. Louis, we know it's going to be a tight game. We have to make sure we show up for 60 minutes, like we did tonight."

"There hasn't been one easy game with St. Louis," Predators goaltender Chris Mason added. "Every game could have gone the other way. We've maybe had a bit of luck or we've been opportunistic. We've had a couple of shootouts and overtime. Every game has just been hard-fought."

Jason Arnott had a goal and an assist and rookie Alexander Radulov set up a pair of tallies for Nashville, which raised its mark to 11-3-1 vs. divisional foes.

"(The Blues) play us hard every game, and they are great hockey games," Arnott said. "Tonight, we came out on top. It was a close call right there to the end."

Making his 21st consecutive start, Mason made 35 saves for the Predators, who have won 10 of 13.

"I feel I am playing well right now," said Mason, whose time as a starter likely is coming to an end with Tomas Vokoun dressed as the backup Saturday. "I love playing, and playing every game."

Vokoun is expected to start Nashville's game against Anaheim on Tuesday.

"That's the plan right now," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "That's why he was on the bench tonight. He says he is ready to go, and he is our No. 1 goalie, so you just say, 'He's ready and he's going in.'"

Martin Rucinsky and Lee Stempniak tallied for St. Louis, which failed to earn at least one point for the first time in five road games.

"There is no such thing as a moral victory or feeling any kind of gratification in losing a hockey game, no matter how hard you play," Blues coach Andy Murray said.

"Like Andy mentioned, there are no moral victories," St. Louis' Jamal Mayers added. "We need to find a way to win these games."

Vernon Fiddler opened the scoring at 2:08 of the first period, netting his fifth of the season. It was the first goal allowed by the Blues in the opening session in 13 games under Murray.

"Andy has St. Louis playing really well right now," Trotz said. "This is their push. We've got a little bit of a streak going against them, and they are trying to break that. They played a really solid game."

St. Louis drew even with 1:47 left in the period with its own fluke tally. Carrying down the right side, Rucinsky attempted a cross-slot pass that deflected off the stick of diving defenseman Dan Hamhuis and past Mason for his ninth goal.

The Predators moved back in front during a power play midway through the second on a snap shot from the left faceoff circle by Arnott, who extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.

"The passing from J.P. and Sully really helps out a lot," Arnott said of his recent success. "I just try to find the openings and let it go. When you get great passes like that, it makes the shot a lot easier. It's been working well."

However, the lead did not last long as Stempniak netted his third in four contests with his own snap shot from the right circle 17 seconds later.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ST LOUIS 1 1 0 2
    NASHVILLE 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 5 (JOSEF VASICEK, ALEXANDER RADULOV)
    2:08
    STL - MARTIN RUCINSKY 9 (RADEK DVORAK, JAY MCCLEMENT) 18:13
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 14 (STEVE SULLIVAN, ALEXANDER
    RADULOV) 11:20
    STL - LEE STEM

    Jan 6 10:37 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 2
    NASHVILLE 3
    3RD PRD: NAS - (PP) JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT 9 (RYAN SUTER, JASON ARNOTT)
    15:48

    Blues vs. PredatorsJan 6 10:30 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ST LOUIS 1 1 2
    NASHVILLE 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 5 (JOSEF VASICEK, ALEXANDER RADULOV)
    2:08
    STL - MARTIN RUCINSKY 9 (RADEK DVORAK, JAY MCCLEMENT) 18:13
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 14 (STEVE SULLIVAN, ALEXANDER
    RADULOV) 11:20
    S

    Jan 6 9:42 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 2
    NASHVILLE 2
    2ND PRD: STL - LEE STEMPNIAK 13 (KEITH TKACHUK, JAMIE RIVERS) 11:37

    Blues vs. PredatorsJan 6 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 1
    NASHVILLE 2
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 14 (STEVE SULLIVAN, ALEXANDER
    RADULOV) 11:20

    Blues vs. PredatorsJan 6 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ST LOUIS 1 1
    NASHVILLE 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 5 (JOSEF VASICEK, ALEXANDER RADULOV)
    2:08
    STL - MARTIN RUCINSKY 9 (RADEK DVORAK) 18:13
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    STL 16 16
    NAS

    Jan 6 8:48 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 1
    NASHVILLE 1
    1ST PRD: STL - MARTIN RUCINSKY 9 (RADEK DVORAK) 18:13

    Blues vs. PredatorsJan 6 8:46 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 0
    NASHVILLE 1
    1ST PRD: NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 5 (JOSEF VASICEK, ALEXANDER RADULOV)
    2:08

    Blues vs. PredatorsJan 6 8:15 PM