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Predators wins third game by shootout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Paul Kariya has been to Game 7 of the
Stanley Cup finals, but he's never seen a start like the one the
Nashville Predators are putting together.

Tomas Vokoun turned away both shots he faced in the shootout and
the Predators won their sixth straight to open the season by
beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 Thursday night.

"I don't remember ever going 6-0," said Kariya, the veteran
All-Star who signed with the Predators in August. "We've got a
very good team, but we still have a lot to do. We are playing very
well right now."

The Predators have won half of their games by shootout and own
the NHL's best mark. Steve Sullivan and Marek Zidlicky both scored
past St. Louis goalie Patrick Lalime in the new tiebreaker, and
Vokoun turned away Petr Cajanek and Doug Weight as the Blues fell
to 2-4-1.

Nashville, a 1998 expansion team, had never posted a better
first six-game mark than 4-1-1 in the 2000-01 season. The fastest
the Predators reached 12 points was 10 games, done in the same
season.

Thursday's win guaranteed the Predators' first winning October.

"This group wants to get better," Nashville coach Barry Trotz
said. "That's a sign of maturity. But we have to keep everything
in perspective. We have to retain our work ethic and work on our
speed and structure."

Kariya would've been Nashville's third shooter, if necessary.

"I have Sully, Zidlicky, Kariya and we have one of the best
goaltenders in the league," Trotz said. "My job is done once we
get to the shootout. There are a lot options and down the road,
we'll extend that."

The Predators rallied in the third period to force overtime.
Jeremy Stevenson scored his first goal of the season at 3:00 to
make it 2-2.

They finished St. Louis off in the fan-friendly shootout.

"A shootout is a shootout," Blues coach Mike Kitchen said.
"We go from a team game -- we had a terrific team game -- to an
individual game. It's what fans want, but it's disheartening. We
played 60 to 65 minutes, but it feels like a loss."

Dean McAmmond gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead at 8:24 of the second
period with his fourth goal of the season.

The Blues were short-handed for five minutes of the second
period but the Predators failed to take advantage as David Legwand
was stopped from the crease and Paul Kariya shot wide right on a
breakaway.

Lalime was terrific for three periods and overtime, stopping 27
of 29 shots, and shutting out the Predators power play on six
opportunities.

"He gives is a chance to win every night," Kitchen said. "He
made some great saves on their 5-on-3 (during the final minute of
the second period and first minute of the third."

After outshooting the Blues 7-2 for the first 15 minutes, the
Predators took a 1-0 lead at 15:05 of the opening period when
defenseman Dan Hamhuis put a shot from the left blue line past
Lalime.

Skating in from the right faceoff circle, St. Louis defenseman
Eric Brewer tied it at 1 when he beat Vokoun with a wrist shot with
one second left on the Blues' only power play of the first period.

Game notes
St. Louis LW Keith Tkachuk was placed on the injured list.
... Brewer's goal in the first period was the first given up on the
power play by the Predators at home. In two home games, Nashville
killed 11 short-handed situations.