Nashville Predators' goalie Pekka Rinne (35), of Finland, cannot block the shot by St. Louis Blues' TJ Oshie, left, in the second period of an NHL hockey game on Saturday, April 9, 2011, in St. Louis. The Blues won 2-0. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce) By Bill Boyce
St. Louis Blues' acknowledge their fans after their final NHL hockey game of the season, against the Nashville Predators, on Saturday, April 9, 2011, in St. Louis. The Blues won 2-0(AP Photo/Bill Boyce) By Bill Boyce
St. Louis Blues' Chris Porter (32) and Nashville Predators' Matt Halischuk (24) reach for a loose puck in the second period of an NHL hockey game on Saturday, April 9, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce) By Bill Boyce
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- T.J. Oshie's dazzling goal and Jaroslav Halak's seventh shutout gave the St. Louis Blues a positive finish to another lost season. It helped that they caught the Nashville Predators exhaling a night after clinching a playoff spot.
Halak shut out Nashville for the third time this season and Oshie scored from his knees early in the second period to lead the Blues to a 2-0 win over the Predators on Saturday night.
"Definitely went out with a bang," Oshie said.
One night after clinching its sixth playoff spot in seven seasons under coach Barry Trotz, Nashville was outplayed much of the way. 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.
"It wasn't our best effort," Predators center Mike Fisher said. "We played a little bit better in the third and pushed a little bit, but give them credit they played pretty well.
"We just didn't quite have our A-game tonight."
Good reason for that.
"It's been a real emotional ride the last two months," Trotz said. "A little disappointed we didn't get it but at the same time a new season."
Backes made an impressive play 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.
"I've said that's a bad stat in the past because it doesn't show much," Backes said. "I suppose it's a great stat. You don't get a number like that if you're not with guys who are willing to dedicate themselves to the defensive side."
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 its 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 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)