NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Since coming to St. Louis in an early-season trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008, Blues center Alexander Steen has distinguished himself with his close attention to detail, a booming slap shot and a quiet professionalism on and off the ice.
Compiling points at a rate Blues' fans have not witnessed since Brett Hull's quick start to the 1994-95 lockout-shortened season, Steen has never made more noise during his steady eight-year career. On Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena, Steen continued his early-season flurry with two goals in a 6-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
The Blues, which opened the season with a 4-2 win over Nashville on Oct. 3, improved to 6-1-2. St. Louis notched its fourth straight victory in Nashville for the first time in franchise history.
Steen opened the scoring in the first with a wrist shot past Predators goaltender Carter Hutton. With the power-play goal, Steen recorded his 14th point in only nine games. It took Hull one game fewer to reach the point total nearly two decades ago.
Trailing 1-0 after the first, the Predators (6-5-1) opened the second period with six consecutive shots but could not beat Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, who finished with 22 saves. St. Louis increased the margin to 2-0 on a short-handed goal by center T.J Oshie at 7:34 of the second. Oshie redirected a shot from defenseman Alex Pietrangelo just outside the crease past a frozen Hutton for his second goal of the year.
Less than five minutes later, the Blues took an insurmountable 3-0 lead thanks to some nifty stickhandling from Vladimir Sobotka. The Blues' center deked past two Predators and drew it back to Jaden Schwartz, who defeated Hutton with a low slap shot.
The Predators scored for the only time on the night on a short-handed goal by center Nick Spaling in the opening minute of the third. The Blues, though, put the game away with goals by Steen and center Derek Roy over a four-minute span.
Roy's goal at 7:48 of the final period prompted Predators coach Barry Trotz to pull Hutton for backup Magnus Hellberg. Pietrangelo capped the scoring with a power play goal at 12:58.
Hutton received his second straight start since Predators' goalie Pekka Rinne underwent arthroscopic hip surgery Thursday. Rinne is expected to miss up to four weeks.
NOTES: Cici Collins, 11, served as the game's child ambassador as part of the NHL's initiative to fight cancer. In 2006, the Predators fan underwent a 14-hour operation and six weeks of radiation to treat a brain tumor. Though Cici went into remission following the treatment, a tumor returned to Cici's spine in 2012. In May of 2013, however, Cici was declared cancer-free and has been stable with no signs of cancerous growth ever since. Cici dropped a ceremonial puck before the game and received sticks from Predators captain Shea Weber and Blues captain David Backes. ... Predators C David Legwand entered Saturday's matchup with 34 points in 71 career games against St. Louis -- the most by a Predators' player against any opposing team all-time. ... Heading into Saturday's game, Weber tied for the league-lead in goals among defensemen with three. When Weber opened the scoring in Thursday's 3-2 win over the Jets, he scored his 51st career power play goal -- a franchise record. ... Blues D Jay Bouwmeester appeared in his 643rd consecutive regular season game, a streak which is currently the longest in major professional sports. Bouwmeester, a 10-year veteran, last missed a regular season game March 3, 2004. Canucks C Henrik Sedin ranks second with 642 straight games, while Detroit Tigers 1B Prince Fielder is third with 489.
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