By Nicholas Hand
The Blues’ postseason run came to an end on Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 loss to the Predators in Nashville in game six of their second-round playoff series. The Predators won the series four games to two and advanced to the Western Conference final for the first time in franchise history.
The Blues jumped out to a solid start on Sunday and were rewarded with the opening goal of the game as Paul Stastny scored his second goal of the postseason at 2:04.
A Vladimir Tarasenko shot deflected off Stastny and laid in the crease after Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was unable to corral the puck. Stastny knocked the puck into the net before Jaden Schwartz, who also assisted on the goal.
The Blues held the lead throughout the first period but were unable to increase the one-goal margin.
A defensive breakdown turned into the equalizing goal for Predators defenseman Roman Josi just 35 seconds into the second period.
Josi eluded the Blues forwards and buried a one-timer past goalie Jake Allen on a pass from Matias Ekholm. Ryan Johansen assisted on Josi’s fourth goal of the playoffs.
The Predators took control of the game in the second period enabled by penalty trouble by the Blues. The Blues penalty kill sustained Nashville’s power play opportunities and kept the game tied heading to the third period.
The Predators broke the tie by taking advantage of aggressive play in the offensive zone by Blues defenseman Colton Parayko and broke out on a two-on-one rush up the ice. Filip Forsberg sent a pass to Viktor Arvidsson creating the opportunity. Arvidsson flipped a pass to Johansen for a partial break on Allen and beat him with a backhanded shot across the crease for a 2-1 lead at 3:15 of the final period.
The Blues pushed with more aggressive play and relied on Allen to hold the score to within one. Allen did just that stopping the Predators on numerous odd-man rushes in the third period including a breakaway glove save on Forsberg.
The Blues pulled Allen for an extra attacker with just over two minutes remaining in regulation but were unable to find the equalizer. Calle Jarnkrok sealed the series for the Predators with an empty-net goal with one minute left in the game.