Predators finish with a loss, forced to wait on playoff fate

Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 11:55pm
Staff reports

The Nashville Predators ended the regular season Saturday with a 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and likely lost out on the opportunity for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Predators were in fourth place in the Western Conference standings following Friday’s victory at home against Columbus and would have clinched that position with a victory over the Blues.

Instead, they managed just 24 shots, and St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak shut them out for the third time this season — a Nashville first by an opposing goalie. He also beat them 3-0 on Oct. 28 and 2-0 on Dec. 26.

Los Angeles’ Roman Cechmanek (2003-04) and St. Louis’ Roman Turek (2000-01) are the only others to hold the Predators scoreless more than once in a season. Each did so twice.

The Blues got the only goal they needed when TJ Oshie scored at 5:20 of the second period. They put it out of reach on Alexander Steen’s goal with 49 seconds to play and became the only Central Division team to finish this season with a winning record (4-1-1) against Nashville this season.

The Predators ended at 44-27-11 for 99 points, the fourth-highest total in franchise history, and set a team record for fewest goals allowed with 194. Only Vancouver, which had the league’s best record, allowed fewer goals among Western Conference teams.

The NHL will release the postseason schedule Sunday, following the league’s final games.