Game Report: Predators 3, Blues 1

By Nicholas Hand

The Blues suffered their first road loss this postseason with a 3-1 defeat to the Predators on Sunday in Nashville.

The Predators now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one with game four scheduled for Tuesday night in Nashville.

Ryan Ellis, Cody McLeod, and Roman Josi scored for the Predators, who outshot the Blues 34-23.

Ellis opened the scoring at 10:34 of the first period on a shot from the high slot just seconds after a Ryan Reaves elbowing minor penalty expired. Filip Forsberg and PK Subban assisted on the third goal of the playoffs by Ellis.

The Blues played the majority of the first period without center Paul Stastny, who went to the locker room after an early check but returned in the second period.

McLeod gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 2:29 of the middle period on a second chance opportunity after he batted the puck on Blues goaltender Jake Allen, who made the initial save. McLeod banked the rebound off Allen’s skate and into the net for his first goal of the playoffs.

Nashville dominated the second period, outshooting the Blues by an overwhelming 18 to four margin, but the Blues cut the lead in half on their first shot of the period at 12:59.
Alex Pietrangelo threw a wrist shot on net that Alexander Steen deflected past goaltender Pekka Rinne.

The Blues had more energy after Steen’s goal but still struggled to gain much offensive zone time throughout the remainder of the game.

The Blues’ best chance to even the score came midway through the third period with Robert Bortuzzo hitting the post on a shot from the point.

The Predators put the game away with Josi’s third goal of the postseason with 5:49 remaining in regulation on an extended shift by the Predators in the Blues zone following an icing call. Colton Sissons and Harry Zolniercyk assisted on Josi’s goal that beat Allen in the top corner of the net.

The Blues pulled Allen for an extra attacker with more than four minutes remaining but were unable to close the gap with the Predators running out the clock.

Of Note: Stastny and Jori Lehtera both missed portions of the game in the Blues locker room with unknown issues… Patrik Berglund struggled on faceoffs in game three winning just 15 percent. Stastny won 60 percent of his draws, the only Blues center who was above 50 percent… Ivan Barbashev was inserted in the lineup for the second consecutive game and played only 6:43. Magnus Paajarvi was a healthy scratch.

Looking Ahead: The Blues and Predators faceoff at 8:30 p.m. in game four of the series on Tuesday night in Nashville. The series will return to St. Louis for game five, a 7 p.m. start on Friday night.