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Predators Rally Past Blues


Cliff Ronning scored with 38.9 seconds left and the Nashville Predators came back from an early two-goal deficit to beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Thursday night.

It was Nashville's first win ever against another Central Division opponent.

Denny Lambert stole Blues defenseman Jamie Rivers' pass behind the St. Louis net and fed a wide-open Ronning in the slot. Ronning scored his second goal in as many games and 201st of his career with a onetimer.

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  • "Lambert was forechecking hard, we put him in there to force a cough up," Ronning said. "He read their defensman's reverse, stole it and hit me on the tape. The goalie was cheating high to the glove side so I went back the other way."

    Nashville's Ville Peltonen tied the game 5:04 into the period. Peltonen ripped Scott Walker's pass from behind the net past Blues goaltender Jamie McLennan, who was starting his fourth straight game in place of the injured Grant Fuhr.

    Mike Dunham made 29 saves for expansion Nashville, which had been 0-4-0 against the Central Division.

    Peltonen has three goals in only seven games. He missed Nashville's first 10 games with a dislocated shoulder.

    Geoff Courtnall put the Blues up 1-0 just 3:22 into the game, on a 2-on-1 with Pierre Turgeon. Courtnall lifted a backhander over Dunham. Craig Conroy made it 2-0 at 8:36 on a 3-on-2 led by defenseman Chris Pronger.

    "A two-goal deficit against this team is hard to come back from with (Al) MacInnis and (Chris) Pronger on the blue line," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Look at the end of the year and see how many teams will do it. We're very fortunate."

    Nashville's Patrik Kjellberg scored on the rebound of Tom Fitzgerald's shot at 18:27 to cut the lead to 2-1. Ex-St. Louis center Darren Turcotte got his first Nashville assist on the play.

    Duham made tough saves on Turgeon, Michel Picard, Pavol Demitra, and Michal Handzus early in the second period to keep it close. McLennan robbed Sebastien Bordeleau with 1:09 left in the period.

    "I think we fooled ourselves thinking it was going to be easy," St. Louis coach Joel Quennville said. "They came at us and we didn't battle, get second efforts and the pucks weren't there. They won all those and that's why they won the game."

    Referee Paul Stewart worked the second game of his comeback from colon cancer surgery in June. Stewart, who has called 694 regular-season NHL games, was the only one of the four officials not to wear a helmet. He shared the refereeing duties with Don Koharski.

    St. Louis was 0-for-4 on the power play and Nashville 0-for-5.

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