Monday, 15 May 2017

NHL - Playoffs - Round 2 - St Louis Blues vs Nashville Predators - Blues Lose Series 2-4

Game 1 - Nashville Predators @ Blues 4-3 - Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Vernon Fiddler took advantage of his opportunities. Playing his first game of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Nashville Predators center scored the tiebreaking goal off a fortuitous bounce with 5:05 left in the third period for a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at Scottrade Center. Jay Bouwmeester's failed clearing attempt went right to Watson, who sent a bouncing puck toward goalie Jake Allen. He tried to pokecheck it, missed, and Fiddler tapped it through Allen's legs. P.K. Subban had a goal and two assists, Colin Wilson and Filip Forsberg scored, and Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for the Predators, who have won five straight Stanley Cup Playoff games. Nashville left wing Kevin Fiala was taken off the ice on a stretcher 1:46 into the second period after his left leg hit the end boards when he was checked to the ice by St. Louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. The game was delayed 17 minutes by the injury and to wait for an ambulance to arrive and replace the one that took Fiala to the hospital. Nashville coach Peter Laviolette did not provide an update on the 20-year-old after the game. The Predators said earlier Fiala was alert and stable. Colton Parayko had a goal and assist, and Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka tied the game with third-period goals for St. Louis. Allen made 28 saves. Subban gave Nashville a 2-0 lead at 2:22 of the second period, 36 seconds after play resumed, and after Parayko made it 2-1 at 8:04, Forsberg scored a power-play goal for a 3-1 lead at 12:11. Schwartz made it 3-2 at 6:48 of the third period, and Sobotka tied it 3-3 at 9:22, but Fiddler put Nashville back in front 4-3. Wilson tipped in a power-play shot by Subban at 11:24 of the first period to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.

* Sobotka's tying goal was the result of good speed by Magnus Paajarvi, who drove the middle of the ice, forcing Predators defenseman Roman Josi to respect Paajarvi's move to the net. It left Sobotka a lane to take a wrist shot, which went in off the near post.
* Subban's slap shot from the right point came after a pass from Ryan Johansen on the first shift after Fiala's injury.

"Guys fought back great. A little mistake by me cost us. ... I did what I wanted to do." Allen said.
"I liked the pushback. I liked the fact we came out the way that we did. Certainly some things we can learn from that, but the reality is, the second period was not good enough. Ultimately it cost us the game." Mike Yeo said.
"That's hockey. It's an unfortunate incident [the injury to Predators forward Kevin Fiala]. You never want to see that. I hope he's OK." Jake Allen.

Game 2 - Nashville Predators @ Blues 2-3 - Friday, April 28, 2017

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, including the tiebreaking goal with 3:51 remaining in the third period, to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round at Scottrade Center. Jori Lehtera scored for St. Louis to tie it 2-2 at 7:39 of the third. Blues goalie Jake Allen made 22 saves, 14 in the third period.

Ryan Ellis had a goal and an assist, James Neal scored, and Pekka Rinne made 17 saves for Nashville, which lost for the first time this postseason after five straight wins. Nashville took a 1-0 lead when Ellis' slap shot from the point double-deflected off Colton Sissons and Neal at 7:49 of the first period. It was the Predators' first shot on goal. St. Louis tied it 1-1 during a five-minute power play. Tarasenko's wrist shot beat Rinne, who was screened by Paul Stastny, with 20 seconds remaining in the period. Nashville center Vernon Fiddler was given the major penalty and a game misconduct for kneeing Blues defenseman Colton Parayko with 1:32 remaining. Ellis gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at 3:07 of the third period.

* Blues forward Jaden Schwartz started a rush up the left wing and found defenseman Joel Edmundson coming into the zone through the middle. Edmundson kicked the puck to Tarasenko, who shot past Rinne.
"It's a great play by [Schwartz] and then I probably scream for [Edmundson] to leave it to me and [Edmundson made] a good play," Tarasenko said.

"I saw him as soon as I came around the net. Then I went to play the puck and it bobbled off me. I don't know if he took a different route or I went a different way, it happens so fast. It's just one of those things. I'm assuming he wasn't trying to do it. It's hockey and the game's so fast [on being hit by Predators forward Vernon Fiddler]." Colton Parayko.
"Another one of my goals [is] a big goal for us. After [the] first game, we can't lose this one, so it's [a] tied series now and [we] play Nashville on [Sunday] and have time to reset and do our best." Tarasenko said.
"We knew it was going to be a long series. I don't think either team thought it was going to be a sweep, for one side or the other. That's going to be rare in these ages. We're still in for a long series, just have to get rest and go into a tough building." Allen said.
"When he has time, it's more setting my position, let him shoot it around me and he did that. Great shot." Stastny said.
"I was hoping [Schwartz] would put it right in my wheelhouse for a one-timer, but if you can get it to the goal-scorer, you might as well [on kicking the puck to Valdimir Tarasenko for the game-winning goal]." Joel Edmundson.

Game 3 - Blues @ Nashville Predators 1-3 - Sunday, April 30, 2017
The defense continues to drive the offense for the Nashville Predators.
Defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi each scored to help the Predators defeat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in Game 3. Nashville's defensemen had four points (two goals, two assists) in the win that gave the Predators a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. At least one defenseman has been a part of 12 of the past 13 goals the Predators have scored in the Stanley Cup Playoffs dating to Game 4 of their first-round sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks. Subban had an assist on Ellis' goal at 10:34 of the first period that gave Nashville a 1-0 lead. Ellis took a pass at the point from forward Colton Sissons and got a shot past Jake Allen.

With his goal in Game 3, Ellis has points in six straight playoff games (three goals, five assists), a record for a Nashville defenseman. Forward Colin Wilson holds the Predators record with a point in seven straight playoff games. Josi made it 3-1 when he scored with a slap shot at 14:11 of the third period. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm had the secondary assist on a goal by Cody McLeod at 2:29 of the second period that gave Nashville a 2-0 lead. Pekka Rinne made 22 saves for the Predators. Allen made 31 saves and Alexander Steen scored for the Blues. Steen made it 2-1 at 12:59 of the second.
* McLeod was denied on his initial shot after taking a pass from Sissons. McLeod found the loose puck on the goal line to the left of Allen and flipped a bad-angle shot that banked off the goaltender and into the net.
* Nashville had an opportunity to take a 3-0 lead at 7:15 of the second period when Filip Forsberg slid a cross-crease pass to Ellis for a one-timer. Allen was able to get from post-to-post to deny Ellis.
"You are killing time, but you are looking to create offense there, too," Nashville defenseman Matt Irwin said. "We knew they were tired and we were able to roll a couple of lines out there fresh and when we got the look we were looking for [Josi] had a great shot."

"It's two tough teams. We knew it was going to be a tough series. Up until this point, I don't think it has disappointed. We've gone back and forth. I like, especially what we did the second half of this game. We battled back, clawed back in a game where we don't get the lead early. That's playoff hockey. I like our groove, our mentality and the way we keep going at it." Steen said.
"We scored one goal tonight. Fact of the matter is for a large part of the game we weren't even competitive. And so we obviously have to be way better. We have to make a couple changes, personnel-wise for the next game and look at the tape and see what we can do a little bit differently and a little bit better than tonight because it wasn't good enough." Mike Yeo.
Game 4 - Blues @ Nashville Predators 1-2 - Tuesday, May 02, 2017
Ryan Ellis and James Neal scored in the third period to give the Nashville Predators a 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4. Ellis scored on the power play to put the Predators ahead 1-0 at 5:09. Filip Forsberg shot, and Ellis got to the puck after it bounced around in the slot and put it past goalie Jake Allen for his fourth goal. Ellis, a defenseman, has a seven-game point streak, including a goal in three straight. Neal scored unassisted to give the Predators a 2-0 lead at 13:03 on a wrist shot from above the right faceoff circle. He fought through two Blues defensemen and shot through traffic for his second goal.

Ellis made a save on the goal line on a Blues power play late in the second period as the puck was moving toward the goal line. He has had a knack for making those types of plays for the Predators over the past two seasons.
Defenseman Joel Edmundson scored to make it 2-1 at 16:11 on a slap shot from the left circle. His shot went through traffic in front and past Rinne for his third goal. Rinne made 32 saves, and Allen had 23.
* Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo dove for a loose puck in the left circle, but Ellis beat him to it and shot low past Allen's head inside the left post to get the Predators on the board.
* Neal broke up an attempted pass from David Perron to Carl Gunnarsson high in the Blues zone, then spun and shot behind Gunnarsson and over Allen's blocker from the top of the right circle.
* Blues forward Alexander Steen was in a walking boot following the game. He blocked a Roman Josi shot with his left foot at 10:04 of the first period. … Predators forward Craig Smith missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. He participated in the morning skate after practicing Monday. ... Ellis' seven-game postseason point streak is the longest in the NHL by a defenseman since Chris Pronger of the Blues and Jason Woolley of the Buffalo Sabres each had a goal and eight assists during a seven-game streak in the 1998 playoffs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"Got to find a way to put the puck in the back of the net. [Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is] making good saves, he's playing well. Both goalies are playing really well. We've just got to find a way to get a couple behind him. The power play's got to be better." Alex Pietrangelo
"For the most part, I thought we had a pretty good game. We got more shots. I think we've got to get in Rinne's face a little bit more, more bodies to the net. It wasn't a bad game by us. I thought we had some pretty good pushes. Obviously, we've got to bear down on a lot more of our chances, but we take a lot of positives out of this and we go back home and get to work." Ryan Reaves said.

Game 5 - Nashville Predators @ Blues 1-2 - Friday, May 05, 2017
Dmitrij Jaskin scored in his first game of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping the St. Louis Blues earn a chance to play at least one more. The Blues extended the Western Conference Second Round with a 2-1 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 5. St. Louis trails the best-of-7 series 3-2 with Game 6 at Nashville on Sunday. The loss kept the Predators from advancing to a conference final for the first time. Jaskin was in the lineup in place of forward Alexander Steen, who participated in warmups but was scratched.

He gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 5:43 of the second period, getting to the rebound of an Alex Pietrangelo shot from the point below the left faceoff circle and beating Pekka Rinne. It was Jaskin's first goal since Dec. 3, which was his only regular-season goal in 51 games. Jaden Schwartz gave the Blues a 2-1 lead 25 seconds into the third period on another rebound. Colton Parayko shot from the point, and Schwartz scored his fourth goal. James Neal scored for the Predators at 13:50 of the second period on a 5-on-3 power play to tie the game 1-1. P.K. Subban passed to Neal below the right faceoff circle, and he beat Allen on a wrist shot for his third goal. Allen made 21 saves for St. Louis, which is 3-2 at home this postseason. Rinne made 30 saves for Nashville, which is 7-2 in the playoffs.

* Schwartz's goal came after the puck was redirected off Parayko's shot from the point. Schwartz crashed the net and beat Rinne on the blocker side.
* Jaskin's goal was the first time in the series the Blues scored first. Rinne tried to get across the crease and make a right-pad save, but Jaskin shot past him.
* Jaskin had eight shots on goal, four hits and two blocked shots playing 15:46. … Ellis' seven-game point streak ended (four goals, five assists).
"It's unbelievable. What we had to do tonight, we did, and everybody's happy. We can enjoy it now for a few minutes and then forget it and get another one." Jaskin said.
"He was really good all game from the start and got rewarded with a goal and a couple other chances. Brought some really good energy that we needed. You're happy for a guy like that who gets a chance to come in and has an impact."
"I'm always proud of this group. The effort is always there. Sometimes we don't execute the way we want, but tonight was resilient. Not an ideal 5-on-3 situation, but we found a way to bounce back. We know it might take us 60 minutes or more to get that win, but we stuck with it and [goalie Jake Allen] was great again." Pietrangelo said.
"I thought we just stuck to our game plan. We didn't get rattled, especially when they got that 5-on-3 there and they scored. We just kept with it and it paid off."
"We had a must-win. We've played well in spurts this series, but I don't think we've played consistently great and I think tonight was a step. We're still backs against the wall [in Game 6]. We've got to come out even harder, even better in a really, really tough building and see where it goes." Allen said.

Game 6 - Blues @ Nashville Predators 1-3 - Sunday, May 07, 2017

The Nashville Predators advanced to the Western Conference Final for the first time in history with a 3-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won the best-of-7 series 4-2. Nashville improved to 8-2 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 4-0 all-time at home with an opportunity to close out a series. The Predators will play the Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers in the conference final. Josi, Ryan Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok scored for the Predators.
Johansen gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 3:15 of the third period on a forehand-to-backhand move. Viktor Arvidsson made a lead pass to Johansen breaking into the zone, and Johansen deked around St. Louis goalie Jake Allen for his second goal. Paul Stastny gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 2:04 of the first period on a rebound. Vladimir Tarasenko took a shot from the right faceoff circle and Stastny shot the rebound past Pekka Rinne for his second goal of the playoffs.
Josi scored for the Predators to tie the game at 1-1 35 seconds into second period on a one-timer. Mattias Ekholm cut to the left faceoff circle and made a cross-ice pass that Josi shot past Allen for his fourth goal. Jarnkrok scored an empty-net goal to make it 3-1 with 1:00 remaining and Rinne made 23 saves.

* Josi's goal came after the Predators had been outshot 9-5 and trailed after first period. The quick response to start the second period set the tempo for the rest of the game.
* Johansen beat Blues defenseman Colton Parayko to the middle of the ice in the offensive zone to receive the pass from Arvidsson and score the game-winning goal.
* It was the first time in the series that the team scoring first lost. ... Patrik Berglund won 12 of 17 faceoffs. .. Tarasenko finished the series with two goals and one assist. … The Predators have won nine consecutive home playoff games. Nashville has allowed six goals in five games at Bridgestone Arena in the 2017 playoffs. ... Arvidsson's assist was his first point of the series. ... Craig Smith returned to the lineup for the Predators for the first time in the series. He missed six games with a lower-body injury.
"We didn't find a way to win on the road. We had to since we lost one of those games at home. It doesn't matter if it was home or on the road, it was tough games, hard-fought battles. Unfortunately today we came out on the wrong side of it." Alexander Steen.
"It doesn't take anything away from how I feel about this group. I feel proud to represent this group. We fell short, but the fight was always there. I mean, we fought until the end. Sure, we could have played better in the first couple of games but never have I not been proud of this group." Alex Pietrangelo said.

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