Miller sharp, Cole nets winner as Blues nip Preds
Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Last week's acquisitions of Ryan Miller and Steve Ott continue to pay immediate dividends for the St. Louis Blues.
Miller turned aside 20-of-21 shots to remain unbeaten in a Blues' uniform, while Ott assisted on one of two St. Louis goals in the club's 2-1 decision over the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Magnus Paajarvi recorded the game-winning score with 8:18 elapsed in the second period, with Ian Cole registering a goal and an assist to help the Blues remain two points ahead of rival Chicago for first place in the Central Division.
St. Louis is 3-0-0 since Miller and Ott joined the team two days after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres last Friday.
Nashville's Pekka Rinne stopped 20-of-22 chances in his second game back from a hip injury, but the Predators mustered only Nick Spaling's first-period score in falling to 1-4-2 over their last seven games.
Paajarvi sent the Blues in front with an impressive individual effort near the midway mark of the second period. Receiving the puck in his own end, the young Swede blew past a defender on a rush up the right side prior to firing a wrister through Rinne's pads that snapped a 1-1 deadlock.
Rinne kept it a one-goal game by stoning Alex Steen on a penalty shot with 4:33 to go in the second, but Nashville got off just five shots in the final frame as Miller made the lead hold up.
Roman Josi had the Predators' best scoring chance of the third period, a close-range attempt that Miller blocked with the teams skating 4-on-4 with around seven minutes left.
Cole's successful riser off Ott's faceoff win in the Nashville zone staked St. Louis to a 1-0 edge just 4:03 in. The Blues mustered only one more shot over the remainder of the first period, however, and the Predators drew even later in the frame.
Operating from the right corner of the St. Louis zone, Nashville's Patric Hornqvist sent a centering feed that Spaling successfully tipped past Miller while crashing the net with 10:28 elapsed in the game.
The Blues posted their fifth straight victory over the Predators, matching their longest win streak in the series originally set from Dec. 30, 2001 to Oct. 30, 2002. St. Louis has also prevailed in five consecutive trips to the Music City ... The Blues improved to 16-0-1 against Central Division opponents ... Nashville captain Mike Fisher extended his point streak to five games with an assist on Spaling's tally ... Rinne has now held the Blues to three goals or less in 26 straight matchups against them.