ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis right wing David Backes was not happy with his offensive production a year ago, and if the first game of the new season is any indication, he is determined to do something about it.
Backes scored a goal and assisted on another Thursday night to lead the Blues to a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators in the season-opener for both teams.
It took just 2:05 into the season for Backes to score his first goal, deflecting a shot from Alex Pietrangelo while the Blues were on the power play, just three seconds into a minor penalty on Nashville.
The Blues added a goal by Vladimir Sobotka at 5:43 of the period and four minutes later Backes earned an assist on a goal by T.J. Oshie, which increased the lead to 3-0 and knocked Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne out of the game after he allowed the three goals on only six St. Louis shots.
Backes scored a career-low six goals in the lockout-shortened 48 game 2012-13 season, a big drop from the two 31-goal seasons he had earlier in his career.
Only once last season did he and Oshie scored in the same game. Oshie also struggled offensively a year ago, scoring only seven goals, as his season was limited to just 30 games because of injuries.
Nashville scored on goals by Mike Fisher at 10:42 of the first period and David Legwand at 5:09 of the second period to cut the lead to 3-2, but Alexander Steen responded with the Blues second power-play goal of the night at 11:16 of the second period to restore the two-goal advantage.
The loss spoiled the NHL debut of Predators defenseman Seth Jones, who celebrated his 19th birthday Thursday. He was the fourth overall pick in the NHL draft last summer and is the son of former NBA star Popeye Jones.
NOTES: New Blues F Brenden Morrow, signed as a free agent Sept. 23, had to fly to Detroit and back Thursday in order to obtain a work visa so he could play in Thursday night's game. ... St. Louis D Jay Bouwmeester played in his 636rd consecutive game, the longest active streak in North America's four major pro sports. ... Nashville opened the season with eight players who were not on the team's opening-day roster last year. One of the new additions, LW Viktor Stalberg, signed as a free agent from the Chicago Blackhawks, did not play because of a sprained shoulder. ... The Blues open the season with five consecutive home games, not playing a road game until Oct. 17. ... The Predators open the season with back-to-back road games, traveling from St. Louis to Denver to play the Avalanche on Friday night.
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