ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Blues put their latest victory away with a quick burst of offense.
''If you don't feel embarrassed at 7-0, my word,'' Predators
defenseman Bill Houlder said. ''That was boys against men.''
The Blues are 6-0-1 since losing the season opener, despite
being forced to use four goalies because of injuries, and tied the
Red Wings for first place in the Central Division. Their 6-1-1
overall record is the second-best start in franchise history after
the 1997-98 team began 7-1-1. St. Louis scored seven goals for the
second time this season.
''We're getting contributions from all the lines and everybody
is playing pretty well,'' defenseman Al MacInnis said. ''These are
games we have to win and we're just trying to take care of
Fred Brathwaite made 19 saves for his 14th career shutout in his
second straight start since recovering from a groin injury.
Brathwaite's backup job may be in jeopardy when Brent Johnson
recovers from a high ankle sprain in 2-to-3 weeks and newly signed
Tom Barrasso is ready to play, perhaps by next weekend.
''No problems with the groin,'' Brathwaite said. ''There weren't
too many shots, and we came out with all cylinders.''
St. Louis, 5-0-1 against the Predators the last two seasons,
outshot Nashville 18-5 in the second period to blow open a
Low scored his second career goal, and first in 112 games, when
he beat Mike Dunham off a setup from behind the net by Mike
Eastwood at 8:22 of the second. MacInnis got his third of the
season on a rush with Cory Stillman and Doug Weight only 33 seconds
later, sliding in a soft backhander. Tkachuk made it 3-0 at 10:03
on a deflection in front from Pavol Demitra during a power play.
Demitra, the Blues' leading scorer last season, got his first of
the season from the high slot at 17:33. He had five shots in the
second period, six overall.
''Finally I got a break,'' Demitra said. ''I had so many chances
and he was always there, and it was driving me crazy.''
The Blues added three third-period goals. Petr Cajanek emerged
from the penalty box to score a shorthanded goal at 11:42 of the
third after the Blues killed off a 5-on-3 power play. Shjon Podein
and Dallas Drake scored on power plays.
''I thought we had a great second period and we didn't get
careless with the lead,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''We played
solid from start to finish.''
St. Louis missed a chance for a fourth goal in the third when
Dunham made a sprawling glove save on a penalty shot by Stillman
with 5:55 to play. Players weren't faulting the goalie, who
declined to be interviewed, one bit.
''Dunny stood on his head, and it's 7-0,'' defenseman Cale Hulse
said. ''It's brutal.''
The Predators were playing the first game of a seven-game trip,
longest in franchise history. Nashville, which fell to 1-5-1-2, got
off only one shot on a 4-minute power play that spanned the first
and second periods.
Predators forward Vitali Yachmenev broke his right hand in
the first period. The injury will be assessed Thursday in
Nashville. ... Tkachuk left after taking a shot off his left foot
with about 15 minutes remaining, but Quenneville said he wasn't
seriously hurt. ... The Blues have outshot all eight opponents. ...
This was the first of five meetings between the teams. ... The
Blues beat Columbus 7-1 on Oct. 17.