The Blues celebrate Vladimir Tarasenko's 37th goal of the year in their 4-1 win over the Predators on Sunday. (Bill Greenblatt/UP)

By Joe Harris


Blues forward David Perron is trying to pattern his game after his dog, a 17-pound West Island Terrier named Jack.

“I’m trying to be like my dog at home with his bone, he won’t let it go,” Perron said.

Perron has taken that same mentality in regards to his puck possession. That tenaciousness translated into Perron scoring a goal and adding two assists to lead the Blues to a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday at Scottrade Center.

The win left the Blues two points ahead of the Predators in the battle for third place in the Central Division, with one game in hand. The Blues have five games left in the regular season, one more than the Predators.

“I could tell his first shift the puck comes around, a 50-50 battle, and he hands down won that battle,” said Blues coach Mike Yeo. “I had a good sense that he was going to be ready to go today.”

Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen and Joel Edmundson also scored for the Blues, who improved to 7-0-2 over their last nine games. Jake Allen made 35 saves, several of which came on a pair of two-man advantages for Nashville in the first period.

“He’s been outstanding,” Yeo said. “Tonight he made a lot of difficult saves look easy.”
Ryan Johansen scored and Juuse Saros made 20 saves for the Predators, who were playing their fifth game in seven days.

“I thought we competed pretty hard,” Predators captain Mike Fisher said. “Parts of that game I thought we played really really well and we just weren't quite good enough. They got some great bounces and buried them when they could and that was the difference.”

The team which finishes third in the division will draw the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs while the loser could be headed for a first-round matchup against the top team in the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It was a big game,” Allen said. “This has been on our schedule for a while. We knew it was going to come down to between us and Nashville there for the race in the standings. We were ready, we played well.”

Perron made it 3-1 Blues at 6:47 of the second with his second goal in his last three games.

Edmundson gave the Blues a 4-1 lead midway through the third period with his first goal in 11 games.

The first two goals for the Blues came from Tarasenko, his 37th of the season, and Steen.

“They're a good team, they're going to generate chances,” said Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “That's a good line. I thought that was one that pushed it a little bit in their favor, but I thought by the nine minute mark of the second period we took possession of the game back. Their goalie (Allen) made some big saves. You've got to give him some credit as well.”

The Blues killed of five of the Predators’ six power plays. Since Feb. 1, St. Louis has killed 88 percent (70 of 80) of its opponents’ power plays, which is second best in the NHL during that span.

“I think throughout the year that’s probably been our most consistent element to our game,” Steen said. “I think it’s something that when we’ve taken a penalty, whether it’s been poor or the right one, we’ve found some sort of momentum in it and that’s been a huge contributor to where we are in the standings.”

NOTES
: D Robert Bortuzzo (upper body) was out after leaving Thursday's game at Colorado in the second period. With D Carl Gunnarsson (lower body) missing his second straight game, the Blues recalled D Petteri Lindbohm and F Kenny Agostino from Chicago in the AHL on an emergency basis ... The Blues have clinched their sixth straight playoff appearance and 41st time in the postseason in franchise history. ... Predators F James Neal (upper body) was out after leaving Saturday's game against Minnesota. ... The Blues host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.

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Audio:

MikeYeo