Predators end Blues' 7-game win streak, 2-1
ST. LOUIS (AP) The Nashville Predators expected a tough game when came to St. Louis to face the streaking Blues. They were more than up to the challenge.
James Neal and Filip Forsberg each had a goal and an assist as Nashville beat St. Louis 2-1, snapping the Blues' seven-game winning streak and moving past them into first place in the Central Division.
''It's a game we marked down on our road trip that it was going to be tough,'' Neal said. ''To come in here and be a point behind them, we knew what was at stake. They're on a little roll, and we came in and played a great 60 minutes.''
Forsberg has five goals in five games and his 15 points and nine assists lead all rookies.
''I got to thank the whole team and especially my line mates for my success,'' Forsberg said. ''They've been setting me up really good. I try to set them up as well.''
Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for Nashville, which won in St. Louis for the first time in seven trips and for the second time in the teams' last 12 meetings overall. The Predators finished 4-2 on their six-game trip.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said Rinne was a big reason for the successful trip and start to the season.
''He's been steady the whole time,'' Laviollette said. ''He's been rock sold all year.''
Jori Lehtera scored for St. Louis and Brian Elliott had 33 saves. Vladimir Tarasenko had his four-game, goal-scoring streak snapped, but he did pick up an assist on Lehtera's goal, giving him 12 points in his last seven games.
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said the team got away from the style which produced the seven straight wins.
''They executed the game they wanted to play and we didn't,'' Pietrangelo said. ''That's what it comes down to.''
Neal broke a 1-1 tie when he beat Elliot with 6:28 remaining on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle after taking a drop pass from Forsberg.
''I just came in behind Filip and he made a good pass to drop it,'' Neal said. ''It was funny, I told him earlier that I came in behind him and he ripped one. When I came in behind him the second time, he dropped it.''
Elliott said despite the nice pass, he could have made the save.
''That's one I would like to have back,'' Elliott said.
Lehtera put the Blues on the scoreboard first with 5:30 left in the opening period as he followed up Tarasenko's shot and backhanded the rebound past Rinne.
Forsberg tied it at 7:20 of the second period when he broke in down the right side and beat Elliott with a wrist shot from the right circle.
NOTES: The line of Tarasenko, Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz has combined for 17 points in the last five games. ... Nashville is 9-1-1 when scoring at least two goals and 7-0-1 when it holds the opposition to two goals or fewer. ... Mike Ribeiro had an assist on Neal's goal, giving him five assists in his past six games.