It’s not every day a player sums up an entire game with a single thought. Tonight, however, Nashville Predators forward Cody Hodgson did just that.
“Well, we had 40-plus shots, some 5-on-3 chances, our goalie played great, we hit some posts and they capitalized on some opportunities,” he said. “That was the story of the game.”
Yes it was. That was about how it went at Bridgestone Arena Saturday night. The Predators out-played, out-chanced, out-hit and out-shot the St. Louis Blues but couldn’t sneak one over the goal line, losing 4-0 to their division rivals.
“It wasn’t for a lack of trying,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “The kid played a good game in net and we hit the post six times. We just couldn’t get a bounce.”
Pekka Rinne finished with 24 saves on 28 shots in an otherwise solid performance. His counterpart at the other end of the ice, Jake Allen, had a force field around him and ended the contest turning aside all 45 Predators shots for his seventh career shutout.
“He made some really good saves a bunch of times,” rookie winger Miikka Salomaki said. “It’s kind of hard actually to come up with something else. Maybe a little more screens and stuff but I think we did that pretty well too.”
The Blues got things started when they took advantage of a Mike Fisher interference penalty. While the veteran pivot was in the box, St. Louis illustrated some elite puck movement, concluding with a one-time tap in by early Calder Trophy candidate Colton Parayko.
Nashville swarmed the Blues in the middle frame – including a 5-on-3 power play for 1:20 – but couldn’t manage to get one of their 19 shots past Allen.
“We had a lot of chances in the first and in the second,” Roman Josi said. “[Allen] played really well. We just couldn’t capitalize. Even in the third, we had a lot of chances – we just couldn’t score.”
Despite Nashville playing well in the final frame, the Blues put the game away. First on a power play marker by Alex Pietrangelo at 17:30 and then off a 3-on-1 odd-man rush three minutes later. The final nail in the coffin came on an Alex Steen tally with 7:09 left in the contest thereby putting the game out of reach.
“I think we were playing well all game,” Salomaki said. “Obviously, forty-something shots shouldn’t be zero goals.”
“We didn’t get the result we wanted, we did a lot of the right things but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t feel good walking away from here without a win,” Hodgson said. “We want to win every game we feel like we could win and tonight was no different.”
Allen’s 45 saves were not only a career high for the 25-year old but the second most ever by a Blues goalie in a shutout. The most ever? Former Preds netminder and current radio analyst Chris Mason when he blanked his old club on November 25, 2008, turning aside 47 in a 1-0 overtime win.
Nashville will continue their homestand on Tuesday night when the Ottawa Senators come to town. In their only other meeting this season, Nashville dealt the Sens a 4-3 shootout loss on the strength of 38 Carter Hutton saves and two goals by James Neal.
Puck drops at 7:00pm Central.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // Nashville Predators Radio Network