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Patten’s Plus-Minus: St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators

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Oct 27, 2013


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The best and worst from Nashville’s 6-1 loss against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

Plus

  • Saturday night was Hockey Fights Cancer night at Bridgestone Arena. In addition to selling Nashville’s warmup jerseys for charity, as well as various other autographed items, the Predators invited 11-year-old CiCi Collins to perform the ceremonial faceoff before the game. Per the Predators, CiCi has battled cancer multiple times in her young life and has undergone surgeries and chemotherapy, but has been cancer-free since May of this year. That, CiCi, gets a gigantic plus.
  • Magnus Hellberg made his NHL debut on Saturday night. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of Carter Hutton. Drafted in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Hellberg spent all of last season in the minors, racking up a 22-13 record in Milwaukee with 6 shutouts, a .924 save percentage and a 2.14 GAA. Called up after Pekka Rinne was placed on injured reserve, Hellberg did allow a power-play goal on the second shot he faced…but considering Rinne let in the third NHL shot he ever faced, he’s in fairly good company.
  • Replacing Viktor Stalberg in the Predators lineup, Nick Spaling made the most of his opportunity, netting his first goal of the season shorthanded in the third period to close the gap briefly to 3-1. Saturday was the first time that the Predators lost a game in regulation at Bridgestone Arena when Spaling scored. Prior to Saturday, Nashville was 15-0-1 with a Spaling goal at home.
  • Mattias Ekholm earned his first NHL point with an assist on Spaling’s goal. Ekholm, whose play Barry Trotz once described as “horrible”, is third among all NHL rookies in ice time per game with 20:14 (2 spots behind Seth Jones, who ranks among the top 20 of all skaters).
  • Craig Smith registered 6 shots on St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak. Smith leads the Predators in shots with 40. Through 12 games, Smith is shooting at almost double the pace that he shot last year.
  • Matt Cullen and Paul Gaustad again dominated inside the faceoff circle. Cullen was 9-of-12 for 75 percent while Gaustad was 8-of-12 for 67 percent. Nashville won the overall faceoff battle, winning 32-of-55 for 58 percent.

Minus

  • Carter Hutton was chased from net for the first time in his career, giving up 5 goals in 26 shots. While most of the goals were admittedly not on him, Barry Trotz opted to send in Hellberg to make his NHL debut in a lower pressure situation. Hutton’s performance in goal raised his GAA to 2.42 and lowered his save percentage to .927. This was Hutton’s second career loss and his first as a Predator. His other loss also came against St. Louis.
  • Viktor Stalberg found himself on the outside looking in for the second game in a row. Perhaps Nashville’s biggest offseason acquisition, Stalberg has yet to register a point with the Predators.
  • Barry Trotz used the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality with his lineup on Saturday night, using the same lineup that squeaked by Winnipeg on Thursday night. This meant that Stalberg was scratched in place of Nick Spaling.  It’s worth noting that the Blues have the second most goals-per-game and have allowed the sixth fewest goals-per-game in the league. The Jets, on the other hand, are 22nd in the league in scoring and have allowed the 17th most goals. In other words, St. Louis – at this point in the season – is better than Winnipeg.
  • After killing 22 straight penalties over 7 games, the Predators allowed St. Louis to score 2 power play goals in 5 chances on Saturday night.
  • Victor Bartley and Ryan Ellis were on the ice for 3 of St. Louis’ goals. On Jaden Schwartz’s goal, Bartley opted to cover Vladimir Sobotka during a 2-on-1, who also happened to be the player that Carter Hutton had chosen. This left Schwartz wide open to wrist it past Hutton.
  • Gabriel Bourque has not scored a goal yet this season and has not had a point in his last 5 games. He did not register a shot on net on Saturday night.
  • Shea Weber did not register a shot on goal, but did register three misses.
  • Matt Hendricks actually put the puck in the net at the end of the second period, but the goal was waved off due to a delayed boarding call on Paul Gaustad (this was the penalty in which Spaling scored his shorthanded goal). While the cameras did not show Hendricks’ side of the argument, even the most amateur lipreader could tell that the referee countered Hendricks with, “**** off!”