Craig Smith became the first player in franchise history to score in his first two NHL games as the Nashville Predators defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Saturday at St. Louis.
The rookie forward also added a pair of third-period assists, and David Legwand matched his career-high for points in a game with two goals and two assists. Legwand’s second goal was scored into an empty net with 1:02 to play and put the contest out of reach.
With the victory, Nashville won its first two games for the third straight year and the fifth time overall — all in the seven seasons since the lockout. This season began with a 3-2 victory Friday at Columbus.
The Predators were outshot in each of this season’s first two games, including 33-16 by the Blues.
Pekka Rinne stopped 31 shots for his second victory in as many days. His St. Louis counterpart, Jaroslav Halak, allowed three goals on 15 shots. In six games against Nashville last season, he allowed seven goals (on 158 shot) and had three shutouts.
Defenseman Kevin Klein beat Halak for the game-winning goal — with assists from Smith and Legwand — with 6:46 to play, 57 seconds after former Predators captain Jason Arnott had tied it for St. Louis.
Smith and Legwand, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, each scored power-play goals as the Predators converted twice in four opportunities with the man-advantage.
St. Louis was 1-for-5. Arnott accounted for that one four seconds after Cal O’Reilly went off for tripping.