RECAP: Preds ruin Brodeur’s return; Forsberg’s dream comes true with goal

Nashville, TN, United States / The Game Nashville
RECAP: Preds ruin Brodeur's return; Forsberg's dream comes true with goal

“We don’t want a warm and fuzzy story for him at the end of the night.” That’s what Nashville Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette told The Greg Pogue and Big Joe Show Thursday morning about 42-year old goaltender Martin Brodeur making his first start since last season.

Mission: accomplished.

In front of 16,409 at Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators beat the St. Louis Blues to take over Central Division supremacy for the time being. Mike Ribeiro finished with three points, Filip Forsberg had two and Pekka Rinne came away with 29 saves in the victory.

Before Thursday, Broduer (who played for the New Jersey Devils from 1991-2014), had never played for any team other than the team that drafted him.

“In warm ups, when I came out and saw the color of the jerseys, it was weird to look at,” Brodeur said. “Everything was new but I got a lot of work right from the get go too, that helped get me in the game.”

The Montreal native looked to have very little rust early on. He made 14 saves in the opening period and allowed his hockey club to strike first. An absolute gorgeous give-and-go between Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen led to St. Louis taking the 1-0 lead just 5:46 into the contest.

Laviolette, unhappy with the start and, of course, the goal, immediately burned his timeout.

“I don’t think it was so much what I said in the time out, our guys knew that we weren’t really playing the way we needed to,” he said. “Sometimes a time out can be used for a lot of different reasons. For me, in that instant, was just to stop the game and reset it and start it over.”

Start it over, he did. Nashville promptly went out and scored two goals. The first one was provided by the rookie Forsberg.

“As a kid, I dreamed of scoring a goal on him,” Forsberg said before the game. “I didn’t think I’d get the chance.”

Dream come true, eh Filip?

“It was a big goal to get us back even in the game,” Forsberg said. “That was the most important part but, obviously, when I look back at my career in a couple years, that will be one of the big [moments], for sure.”

Fun fact: Brodeur won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year a month and a half before Forsberg was born.

Moments later, the Predators would kill of a marginal hooking penalty and then take the lead seconds later. Mike Ribeiro jumped out of the penalty box, fed a pass toward the slot where Eric Nystrom was waiting with the one-timer. The puck beat Brodeur and make the score 2-1, home team, headed into the locker room.

“We felt like the last 12-13 minutes of that period, we pretty much owned them,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “We were all over them. We could have had more goals than that and that gave us a boost.”

The Preds started the second the same way they ended the first: on fire. Ribeiro got his third point of the game when he was on the end of a beautiful tic-tac-toe play with linemates James Neal and Forsberg, making the score 3-1.

“There are a lot of good defensemen in this league that try to take us down,” Forsberg said. “It’s been really great to be able to contribute and especially in the way [Ribeiro] played tonight with three points.”

Just moments later, however, Tarasenko struck again. His second of the game and 16th of the season got behind Rinne and pulled the Blues within one.

In the final stanza, Roman Josi hit Colin Wilson with an up-the-gut breakout pass that led to Wilson walking in alone. He went backhand and, despite not getting all of it, was able to lift the puck over Brodeur’s left pad to make it 4-2.

“We played decent, we just turned the puck over in a big fashion and they took advantage of it,” Brodeur said. “They scored a breakaway goal and a tic-tac-toe goal early in the second.”

St. Louis made things interesting when Jaden Schwartz snapped a wrist shot from the halfwall that beat a screened Rinne to make it 4-3 but it wasn’t enough. The all-time winningest goaltender in Predators history beat the all-time winningest goaltender in NHL history.

“I am really happy with the way the guys played in front of me,” Brodeur said. “It’s just about making that one save in the third that got away from me. That could have made a difference.”

A difference that keeps his win column reading “688.”

Nashville has another tall task in front of them as the Chicago Blackhawks come to town on Saturday. The Blackhawks are 16-8-1 on the year and will try to extend their four-game win streak.

Puck drops at 6:00pm Central.

MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 8:01 remaining in regulation):
1. Mike Ribeiro (NSH)
2. Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
3. Filip Forsberg (NSH)

1. Mike Ribeiro (NSH)
2. Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
3. Filip Forsberg (NSH)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover //

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