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Halak, Blues Beat Playoff-Bound Predators 2-0

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UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jaroslav Halak shut out playoff-bound Nashville for the third time this season and T.J. Oshie scored from his knees early in the second period to help the St. Louis Blues finish strong with a 2-0 win over the Predators on Saturday night.

One night after clinching its sixth playoff spot in seven seasons under coach Barry Trotz, Nashville was held to less than 10 shots in each period. Pekka Rinne made 24 saves for the Predators, who finished with 99 points and are assured of at least the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

David Backes assisted on Oshie’s goal after spinning away from two defenders and finished at plus-32, by far the best on the team. He totaled 16 points in the last 17 games.

Halak stopped 24 shots for his seventh shutout, and also blanked Nashville on Dec. 26 at home and Oct. 28 on the road. The Predators went scoreless in their last 126 minutes and 52 seconds playing in St. Louis.

Alex Steen scored his 100th career goal with 49 seconds to go to clinch it for the Blues, who finished 24-15-5 at home. St. Louis missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons but won three of their last four games.

Backes made a nice move to get free, spinning away from the defense before hitting Oshie sliding on his knees in front of the net. Oshie faked a forehand to get Rinne out of position, then pushed in a backhander for his 12th goal at 5:20 of the second.

Notes: Predators F Steve Sullivan was scratched a day after his first game returning from a groin injury sustained Feb. 24. … Rinne had 33 victories, one shy of tying Tomas Vokoun (2003-04) for second-most in franchise history. … Backes is one of four players with 25 goals and 200 hits, along with Alex Ovechkin, Dustin Brown and Brenden Morrow.

Copyright Associated Press

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