November 22, 2018 / 4:18 AM / 20 days ago

Predators roll, Blues fall in interim coach's debut

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A pair of short-handed goals helped the Nashville Predators extend their lead atop the NHL standings thanks to a 4-1 win over the visiting St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

Filip Forsberg and Ryan Ellis each found the net while the Predators were down an attacker, with Forsberg’s goal at 13:22 of the second period standing as the game winner. Forsberg intercepted a Robby Fabbri pass and took off on a breakaway to score his team-leading 14th goal of the season.

Craig Berube made his debut as the Blues’ interim head coach, after the team fired Mike Yeo on Monday. The change behind the bench didn’t provide any immediate relief, as the Blues lost for the fifth time in six games and continue to occupy last place in the Central Division.

Frederick Gaudreau’s first career regular-season goal gave Nashville an early lead 6:14 into the first period. After Anthony Bitetto’s shot from the point was stopped, Gaudreau had two rebound attempts before finally putting the puck over the line.

The Blues equalized at the 12:39 mark on another career milestone, as rookie Robert Thomas scored his first NHL goal on a snap shot from the circle. The goal snapped a scoreless drought of over 155 minutes for the Blues, who were shut out in their previous two games.

Another St. Louis turnover led to Austin Watson’s first goal of the season, at 7:53 of the third period for a 3-1 lead. Goaltender Jake Allen’s clearing attempt around the boards was intercepted by Watson, whose shot redirected off Blues winger Nikita Soshnikov and into the net.

After the Blues pulled Allen to give themselves a 5-3 advantage on a power play, a wild shot attempt from Alex Pietrangelo rattled around the boards and was picked up by Ellis. The defenseman took it down the ice for the empty-net goal, which snapped a 39-game scoreless streak (including playoffs) for Ellis dating back to last season.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 28 of 29 saves to earn his ninth win of the season.

The Predators and Blues will have a quick rematch on Friday in St. Louis, in the second of five games this season between the division rivals.

—Field Level Media

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