Predators take 2-1 series lead, beating St. Louis Blues 3-1

Ryan Ellis and James Neal scored in the third period to give the Nashville Predators a 2-1 win over the Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

The speed and scoring prowess of Nashville, on full display against the Blackhawks in the first round, was a highlight once again in Game 3 vs. the Blues, when even blueliners like Ellis and Roman Josi had a hand in putting pucks past Allen.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) congratulates goalie Jake Allen (34) after the Blues beat the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series Friday, April 28, 2017, in St. Louis. The. While it rattled the team momentarily, they managed to go up 3-1 heading into the third period until crowd momentum helped the Blues score two goals in two minutes.

Subban dominated Game 1 with three point blasts, leading to a goal and two assists in Nashville's 4-3 win. The Predators were 5-1 in one-goal games during the 2016 playoffs, including 2-1 against the Sharks yet that only carried them as far as Game 7 of the second round.

Fortunate bounce or not, the obvious theme of the night was that the Ducks offense, with just one more shot on goal than Edmonton in Game 3, came to life with undeniable efficiency. Will he be hit over head by Peter Laviolette or will he continue down this path of destruction. The only shot that got past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was an artful deflection by Alexander Steen in the second period.

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Already playing four on four late in the period, Patrik Berglund put the club in more danger with a high-sticking penalty at the 20-minute mark that gave the Predators a four-on-three power play to start the second, but the penalty-killing unit did its part. They were flat-footed in the first two periods, and it cost them. Vladimir Tarasenko bailed the team out with two goals and the defenders did a better job of limiting chances. They also scored the opening goal in four of the five games (and won those four). The eventual game victor came on a wonky play where James Neal ended up with the puck on his stick, alone in the offensive zone.

Game 3 is Tuesday night.

"The more you have the puck", Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban said, "the less defense you play". Ellis has scored in six straight games and leads Nashville scorers in the postseason with eight points off three goals and five assists.

"I think we're using everybody, we're keeping it simple and we're not letting, I guess, the other team's environment get to us", Pietrangelo said. The Blues had just survived a Nashville powerplay when Ellis throws one on net. The Blues have the right players coming on at the right time and they're going to be coming hard to make the series 2-1 in their favor.

If that happens, the Blues have home ice advantage in what becomes a three game series. "We've got to get them on their toes and make them react to us". They matched the Predators' intensity, and Allen matched Rinne to keep the game scoreless.