Goc's shootout goal sinks Blues

Friday, November 12, 2010
Predators forward Jordin Tootoo, left, and Blues forward Chris Porter chase a loose puck during the first period Thursday in St. Louis. (JEFF ROBERSON ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- Marcel Goc was due. So were the Nashville Predators.

After scoring only once in five previous shootout attempts, Goc beat Jaroslav Halak with a nifty forehand goal in the fourth round to give Nashville a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. The Predators snapped a five-game losing streak with the goal.

Goc deked to the backhand, pulled the puck back to his forehand and beat Halak.

"We've struggled getting points here the last five games and today we found a way," Goc said. "We new they were going to come hard at us after last night's game. It's always tough to play them. We got a little bit of momentum going into the shootout and [Pekka Rinne] was there again when we needed him."

Cal O'Reilly also scored in the shootout for the Predators. O'Reilly and J.P. Dumont connected in regulation, and goalie Rinne stopped 21 shots.

"We hadn't won in awhile, so you know you're always wondering if you have much confidence," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought we did a really good job. ... Fortunate to win it in the shootout so we'll take the win. It's never easy for us, and it hasn't been in this last little while."

Rinne added, "It was a huge win. We had a tough stretch with five losses in a row. We were really focusing on losing this skid. We played a strong game."

The Blues, who have dropped two straight after winning seven in a row, got a shootout goal from Matt D'Agostini and regulation goals from D'Agostini and David Backes. Halak stopped 24 shots.

St. Louis, playing without six injured regulars, dropped to 6-0-1 at home this season. The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak on home ice.

The Blues were a much happier group despite the loss. They were beaten thoroughly 24 hours earlier in Columbus in an 8-1 drubbing.

"We got our game to the right place tonight," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "I think we were much quicker through the neutral zone, but most importantly, we handled their forecheck early. When you play against Nashville, a real strong forechecking team, we had to make a difference back there. ... I thought it was a big key for our club to handle what we didn't handle [Wednesday] night."

Backes opened the scoring for the Blues with 1:38 left in the first period. Andy McDonald's initial shot was stopped by Rinne, but Backes rammed home the rebound from the right side of the circle after a hard hit by Nashville's Steve Sullivan.

The Predators had the better of the play in the second period, outshooting the Blues 10-3 and picking up the equalizer from O'Reilly 13:44 into the period. O'Reilly was on the doorstep and banged home Francis Bouillon's rebound shot that Halak stopped.

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