Thursday, February 23, 2012

Halak stones Preds in shootout to propel St. Louis to victory

The St. Louis Blues were able to get an elusive victory in Nashville on Thursday night, defeating the Predators in a shootout by a 3-2 score. It was the first time this year that the Blues were able to get two points against the Predators.

St. Louis dominated the first period. Aside from the first four minutes of play, the Blues were consistently in control of the puck for the opening period. Chris Stewart got the Blues on the board on an odd play in front of the net. The puck actually went in the net off the skate of Kevin Klein after former Nashville captain Jason Arnott threw the puck to the front of the net.

Nashville was lucky to escape the first period only trailing by a goal. They responded with a much better effort in the second period. Roman Josi tied the game at one when he was able to convert on a great pass from Brandon Yip on a 2-on-1 rush.

Colin Wilson gave the Predators the lead at 12:52 of the second period when he was able to convert on a beautiful backhand goal. Jordin Tootoo and Nick Spaling did an excellent job forechecking, which led to the goal by Wilson.

"It was a good job by (Spaling) and (Tootoo) forechecking. The puck bounced out, and I just wanted to get a quick backhand on net," Wilson said.

It was the second time in the last three games that Wilson had scored a goal on a backhand shot. The backhand shot can really be a valuable weapon because it's a lot harder for goaltenders to read.

"Goalies never know where the puck is going off of a backhand shot. You can't read it very well. That's what happened on those last two goals," Wilson said.

Vladimir Sobotka tied the game for the Blues on a backhand shot that beat Pekka Rinne. It was a bit of a broken play in front of the Nashville net, and Sobotka made a great play to get his stick on the bouncing puck for the shot.

The game remained scoreless throughout the third period and overtime. In the shootout, T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald scored for the Blues while Colin Wilson and Martin Erat were both unsuccessful for the Predators. St. Louis was finally able to defeat Nashville, which should provide them with a lot of confidence moving forward.

Shooters have differing styles when it comes to making a move in the shootout. There is time to plan a move, but sometimes shooters are forced to change their plan due to unforseen circumstances.

"Sometimes it's read and react and sometimes you have a move. Tonight, I was going to go backhand and go up, but I had to react because the puck jumped up. I wasn't too trusting in my backhand there so I tried to go five-hole," Wilson said.

Nashville will try to bounce back from the shootout loss when they host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Colin Wilson(NSH)
2. Vladimir Sobotka(STL)
3. Jaroslav Halak(STL)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Vladimir Sobotka(STL)
2. Colin Wilson(NSH)
3. Roman Josi(NSH)

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