It was a strong performance by the Blues, though not a dominant showing like Saturday night's. Nashville got their licks in and forced this game to be a lot closer than either team would have liked it to have been.
Games against the Nashville Predators usually end in one way: a shootout. Normally it's a shootout after both teams have played to a 1-1 tie, but still: if these two teams meet up on the schedule, it will be a close game that will end in a similarly close fashion. This time around it was a bit higher scoring than usual, but it still ended with St. Louis winning in a shootout.
The first period was pretty back and forth. Nashville opened the scoring on a goal from Colin Wilson. Alex Pietrangelo missed an open-ice check on Wilson, which allowed him to zip up to Halak's right and wrist one past the goaltender. You can't be disappointed; not every game is a shutout.
Another reason that you can't be disappointed is because Vladimir Tarasenko is here. Vladi took it upon himself to equalize the game much in the same way that he took it upon himself to start the scoring Saturday: lots of waiting before firing that perfect shot.
All right then, what else can you do? Assist on an Andy McDonald powerplay goal five minutes later? Well then.
With the Blues up 2-1, Mike Fischer evened the score with less than two minutes to go in the first. The Blues seemed a little discomobulated by the goal, with Halak looking less and less sharp as play went on. When Patrik Hornqvist scored to give the Predators a 3-2 lead for the time being, Hitchcock had seen enough and pulled Halak. It was equal parts a "swift kick in the ass" to his team and "we need to find a goalie who's alert." Darren Pang had a little bit of an issue with pulling Halak seeing as how it was just a one goal game, but sometimes that's the time that drastic changes are needed. If the Blues were down by three, then what good would pulling the goaltender do? Sure, it might stop the bleeding, but chances are good that you're going to lose anyway.
It did the trick for the Blues. No one wants to see their goalie pulled like that, and the team woke the hell up in the third period. In a goal guaranteed to make you feel ancient, Alex Pietrangelo scored on a feed from Tarasenko, which was made possible by some serious awareness by Schwartz. It was almost blink and you'll miss it, but it's not easy to miss Tarasenko's reaction:
The Blues survived the extra five minutes, but not without a casualty. Andy McDonald took a puck to the chin that was fired by Kris Russell (I believe), leaving the ice before the shootout.
Shootout goals were pretty, pretty ones by T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen, while Elliott shut out both Predator shooters.
Elliott will probably still get the start tomorrow night in Chicago. Don't forget to check back tomorrow morning for your open thread so you can talk smack about the Hawks like it was Nickel Beer Night at the Barn.