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Blues ride Halak's second shutout of season

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ST. LOUIS -- Jaroslav Halak posted his second shutout of the young season for the Blues on Thursday night -- and he did not have to work very hard to get it.

The St. Louis defense limited Nashville to 13 shots on goal and Patrik Berglund scored on a penalty shot and assisted on a power-play goal by T.J. Oshie to lead the Blues to a 3-0 victory over the Predators.

"We're occupying the offensive zone," coach Ken Hitchcock said of the low shots against total. "We're keeping it in the zone, we're wearing people out. That's the way you have to play defense.

"It's not always pretty at times if you don't get shots, but the amount of time we spent in the offensive zone it's like for the team getting it to center ice is a breather, and that's the way you want to play the game."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz was not happy with the way his team played.

"You come into St. Louis, it's a bees nest," Trotz said. "They swarm you, they get on you, they have purpose and they work as a group.

"Tonight, we weren't willing to play the game we needed to play to compete at that level. You're not just going to walk in here and have success playing like that. You're going to have battle, and their battle was a lot harder than ours."

Halak, who shut out the Detroit Red Wings in the season opener on Saturday night, having to stop only 14 shots on goal in that game, posted the 15th shutout of his Blues career, only one from tying Glenn Hall's franchise record of 16 shutouts.

The shutout came after Halak was pulled from the game in his most recent start, in Nashville, after allowing three goals midway through the game.

"The goaltending was great," Oshie said. "We had a lot of guys blocking shots, a lot of forwards working hard to get back over the top of the puck when they have it. The system is really taking over right now.

"It was a great bounceback by Jaro. That's got to be tough and has to wear on you a little bit, but he was ready to go tonight. That's good to see."

Halak was in the trainers room after the game and was not made available to the media.

The shutout extended a streak that has seen the Predators go more than three games without scoring a goal in St. Louis, a streak that has reached 182 minutes and dates to Dec. 30, 2011.

Halak had to stop only three Nashville shots in the first period -- the Predators went more than 16 minutes between shots -- and four in the second period while his teammates fired 20 shots at Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne in the opening two periods.

"We didn't have too many quality chances," Nashville's Shea Weber said. "They just played a lot better than we did tonight. They just beat us all over the ice."

Oshie gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 12:59 of the first period, scoring on a power-play goal while Nashville's Mike Fisher was serving a minor hooking penalty. It was the Blues' seventh power-play goal in 11 tries in their first four games this season.

It was Fisher who tripped Berglund as he was breaking toward the net in the second period, resulting in the penalty shot that increased the St. Louis lead to 2-0.

"I was thinking a whole lot about what I was going to do," Berglund said "I just went in there and faked it once and shot it, and luckily it went in."

Berglund also scored a penalty shot exactly a year ago, on Jan. 24, 2012, in a game against Pittsburgh.

Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko made it 3-0 when he scored his fourth goal of the year, in as many games, 9:04 into the third period.

NOTES: Thursday night's game was the second of a seven-game road trip for the Predators that will keep them away from Nashville until Feb. 7. The final game of the trip will be back in St. Louis on Feb. 5. ... Defenseman Wade Redden, signed by the Blues as a free agent last Friday, played in his 994th career NHL game but his first since he was with the Rangers on April 11, 2010. ... Redden replaced Jeff Woywitka on the Blues roster. Woywitka cleared waivers and was assigned to Peoria of the AHL. ... The Blues entered the game with six power-play goals in their first three games of the season, the most in the NHL.
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