ST. LOUIS - Jordin Tootoo never saw his winning goal go in. His Nashville teammates' reaction told the story.
Tootoo scored on a wrist shot with 3:43 left to give the Predators a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. Tootoo beat Chris Mason from just outside the faceoff circle for his first goal of the season.
Tootoo, who missed the first 13 games of the season because of a quadriceps injury, picked up a loose puck and flipped it toward the net just a split second before being flattened by St. Louis centre T.J. Oshie. The shot slipped by Mason, who appeared screened by Martin Erat on the play.
"I was on the ice and I just looked at my teammates and they were the ones that were cheering," Tootoo said. "It felt good. My main focus was to keep the puck low, I knew I was going to get hit."
Mason took responsibility.
"I moved my stick over," he said. "Regardless that's a (save) I've got to make."
Patric Hornqvist also scored for Nashville, and David Legwand added an empty-netter.
Rinne shut the door after giving up a goal to Brad Boyes just 2:03 into the game. Boyes tipped in a pass from Erik Johnson to get the Blues started.
"It's always a tough way to start," Rinne said. "But we responded well. Personally, I think it was one of our better games.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz agreed.
"We stayed persistent for 60 minutes and it paid off," Trotz said. "It was a good effort especially on the road."
Hornqvist tied it 1-1 with his fifth goal of the season in the second period. He picked up a loose puck and slipped it past Mason from close range.
Nashville had 31 shots on Mason through the first two periods but managed to break through just once against their former teammate. Mason, who spent six years in Nashville, had not lost to the Predators in the four previous meetings since leaving.
The Blues were looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since the opening weekend of the season when they swept a two-game set from Detroit in Sweden. St. Louis beat Vancouver 6-1 on Tuesday night.
"To play well one night and not the next night, it's something that's got to stop," Boyes said. "Our work ethic has got to be a lot better."
St. Louis coach Andy Murray was extremely disappointed in his team's effort.
"I've had a lot of losses as a coach," he said. "That ranks right up there because of the way we played."
St. Louis winger David Backes was given a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding Jean-Pierre Dumont late in the second period.
NOTES: The Blues has 22 shots on goal, ending their streak of al least 30 at six games. ... Nashville won 14 straight games against St. Louis from Oct. 15, 2005, to Jan. 27, 2007. ... St. Louis winger Paul Kariya is scoreless in his last nine games. ... The Blues have killed off 14 consecutive power-play attempts. ... The Predators will begin a five-game homestand Saturday against Montreal.