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Blues continue to cruise with 4-1 road win

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Center Patrik Berglund walked into the visitors' locker room on Saturday night, his left shoulder, hand and knee swathed in ice packs.

That is about the only thing that could cool him or the St. Louis Blues down these days.

Berglund scored the first two goals, giving him six in the last eight games, as St. Louis kept its March surge going with a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at sold-out Bridgestone Arena.

The Blues (46-14-7) are 7-0-1 in their last eight games and lead the NHL with 99 points, four more than Anaheim and San Jose.

"I think I'm playing the same way I've played," Berglund said of his March exploits. "I've been shooting the puck and now it's finding its way in."

Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko and left winger Alexander Steen also scored for St. Louis. Goaltender Ryan Miller (21-22-4) notched 30 saves to improve to 6-0-1 since being traded from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 28.

The result also finished off a five-game season sweep of Nashville for the Blues, which seemed like the home team at times even though St. Louis is a five-hour drive via car. Several thousand fans made the trip south.

"I woke up from my pregame nap and heard, 'Let's go, Blues' through the windows from the bars down the street," Berglund said.

Berglund took advantage of a giveaway by defenseman Mattias Ekholm to score at 11:32 of the first period. Drifting towards the left faceoff circle, Berglund ripped a wrist shot by Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

Berglund made it 2-0 at 2:02 of the second period, taking a pass from center Steve Ott and whistling a 30-foot wrister between Rinne's legs for his 14th goal of the season.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said Berglund has been freed up to hunt his offense more often since linemate Chris Stewart went to Buffalo in the Miller trade.

"I think he can hang more on offense," Hitchcock said of Berglund. "He doesn't have to play the 200-foot game like he did before. He doesn't have to play safety-wise and things like that. It's freeing up his energy to play more on offense."

Tarasenko upped the advantage to 3-0 at 7:21 of the second with his 21st goal, snagging the rebound of his shot and slipping it past the goal line with a forehander.

Left winger Eric Nystrom put the Predators on the board at 16:50 of the second period when he collected the rebound of a shot by center Colton Sissons and snapped a wrister over the prone Miller.

But that was all Nashville (29-29-10) would get as it lost its fifth straight home game and saw its three-game winning streak end.

"We mismanaged the puck," said Predators coach Barry Trotz, whose team was coming off a 3-2 win on Friday night in Chicago. "I think some of our guys showed their fatigue. We got tested tonight and obviously we didn't pass the test."

Any thoughts of a dramatic third-period rally were squelched when Steen ripped a one-timer past Rinne at 8:05 to wrap up the first 30-goal season of his nine-year career.

"That will be nice to chat about when the season's over and when my career is over," Steen said. "But right now, it's another goal."

Rinne (6-8-1) finished with 22 saves.

NOTES: St. Louis' win on Thursday night against Edmonton gave it 45 for the season, the sixth time in franchise history it has reached that plateau. ... Nashville LW Viktor Stalberg played in the 300th game of his NHL career. ... Blues LW Magnus Paajarvi, who had the winning goal on March 6 in St. Louis' 2-1 win over the Predators, was scratched with an upper-body injury. ... The Predators start a four-game road trip on Tuesday night against Edmonton. That might be a good sign for the Predators, who are 6-2-3 in their last 11 games away from Nashville.
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