‘USA Line’ Leads Preds to 4-2 Win

The Nashville Predators moved to 2-0 on the young season with a 4-2 victory over the Blues at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Saturday night.

David Legwand figured in on all of the Predators scoring with a four-point night with two goals and two assists. His linemates also had big nights with rookie Craig Smith scoring his second goal in his second game as a pro and also adding an assist, while Colin Wilson played a solid game and had an assist.

Kevin Klein was responsible for the game winner with a rare goal that came just 57 seconds after Jason Arnott had tied the game 2-2 midway into the final period.

The Blues’ other goal came from Patrik Berglund at 7:44 in the opening period.

Pekka Rinne out-dueled Jaroslav Halak, stopping 31 of 33 Blues’ shots. The Preds only mounted 16 shots, but three made it past Halak, while the final one was an empty netter by Legwand.

The Predators were two of four on the power play while yielding a goal on five penalty kills.

The Predators returned home after the game and will not play again until the home opener against Phoenix on Thursday.

Game Notes

Zack Stortini started his first game as a Predator on a line with Blake Geoffrion at center and Jerred Smithson on the other wing.

Ryan Reaves finally goaded Stortini into a fight at 8:58 in the first period after two prior pushing incidents.

Berglund’s goal for the Blues to give them the early lead was a result of several passes behind the net drawing the Preds’ attention until T.J. Oshie saw Berglund moving in with an open shot at the net and slid a pass to him that he one-timed over Rinne’s shoulder.

The power play that Smith scored the Preds’ first goal on was set up by a play where Matt Halischuk put a hard shot on net and Nick Spaling was going to have a great chance on the rebound and was slashed by Jamie Langenbrunner.

Smith’s second goal in two nights was again on the power play when Legwand sent a cross-ice pass to Shea Weber who fired a big shot that Halak could not corral, allowing Smith the chance to put it past the diving goalie.

Jack Hillen picked up his second penalty in two games at 12:58 in the first period when he was called for holding Berglund.

The Legwand, Smith and Wilson line (nicknamed the USA line) was overwhelmingly strong again and was used as a power-play unit by Trotz.

The Jordin Tootoo-Blake Geoffrion forward pairing on the penalty kill looked solid for the second game in a row.

Carlo Colaiacovo was injured on an unfortunate play at 13:16 in the second period when he was tripped in a race with Geoffrion, who was reaching through his skates trying to avoid an icing call. Geoffrion went to the box on the tripping penalty. It was later announced that Colaiavovo was out for the game with an upper body injury.

Patric Hornqvist had a great blocked shot near the blue line at 15:33 in the second when the replay showed that Rinne was fully screened with a crowd in front of the net.

Stortini received an unfortunate penalty call when he was called for interference at 17:42 in the middle stanza when he was too aggressive with an over-embellishing Jackman when the puck was nowhere in sight.

The second period ended with a flurry that started with an odd bounce off the boards that had Rinne trapped behind the net with the puck in play. The Preds were lucky to escape unscathed.

Legwand’s power-play goal at 6:01 in the third period was actually a pass to Wilson that was redirected off the skate of Nikita Nikatin. The delay of game penalty that led to the man advantage against Chris Stewart was disputed by Davis Payne.

At 6:31, right after the Legwand goal, Rinne made an incredible point-blank save on a shot by Oshie that could have tied the game.

Fifty-seven seconds after Arnott’s goal, Klein made one of his best scoring moves as a Predator when he took a pass from Legwand, pump-faked, and went around a Blues player and wristed a shot past a stunned Halak.

Scratches for the game for the Preds included Marty Erat (upper-body), Niclas Bergfors (healthy) and Mattias Ekholm (healthy).

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