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Blues open with 4-2 win over Predators

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- David Backes had a goal and assist in the first period to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday in the season opener for both teams.

The Blues scored three times in the first 9:45 to jump in front 3-0 and chase Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves for the Blues and improved to 9-3-3 against the Predators.

Backes, Vladimir Sobotka, T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen scored for St. Louis, which was 2 of 4 on the power play.

St. Louis has won four of its past five home openers.

Nashville, which missed the playoffs last season, is 7-7-1 in season openers.

Backes scored from close range at 2:05, just three seconds after Matt Cullen was sent off for tripping. Backes pounced on a shot from the blue line by Alex Pietrangelo, who added two first-period assists.

Sobotka tallied on a break along the left wing to make it 2-0. He went by Kevin Klein and sent a backhand behind Rinne.

Oshie converted on a pass from Steen to push the lead to 3-0. Rinne was pulled after giving up three goals on six shots.

Nashville climbed within 3-2 on goals by Mike Fisher and David Legwand.

Steen scored a power-play goal at 11:16 of the second period to stretch the lead to 4-2.

NOTES: The game began at 7:48 p.m. local time, 43 minutes after the final out of the Cardinals' 9-1 win over Pittsburgh in the opening game of the NL Division Series. The Blues moved the start time back 30 minutes to allow fans to make the five-block trip from Busch Stadium. ... St. Louis has made the playoffs in 37 of its 46 seasons. ... Nashville coach Barry Trotz is the longest-tenured head coach with the same team with 1,115 games. ... St. Louis LW Brenden Morrow fixed his work-visa problems earlier in the day and was able to play. ... Blues coach Ken Hitchcock improved to 10-3-4 in season openers. ... Nashville defenseman Seth Jones, the No. 4 overall pick in last year's draft, made his debut. He is the son of former NBA journeyman Popeye Jones.

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