The Nashville Predators took a 2-1 series lead over St. Louis Blues, Sunday afternoon after their 3-1 win at Bridgestone Arena. For the 1st time in the series the Predators were able to impose their style of play on St. Louis. The Blues only got their strong forecheck going on a few occasions in this game, as the Preds played a solid game from beginning to end.
The 1st period started out very physical and the chippiness that was developing in Game 2, continued this afternoon. The Blues had more of the chances in the first half of the period, aided by a bad tripping call on Matt Irwin, they outshot Nashville 8-4. The Predators would kill it off and that would prove to be a key moment in the game. Nashville would take over the second half of the period outshooting the Blues 7-2 down the stretch and getting a goal from Ryan Ellis. Just as a Predator powerplay was expiring Ellis fired a shot from the blueline and Colin Wilson set up a great screen in front of Jake Allen for the 1-0 lead.
The Predators would start the 2nd period on a 4 on 3 powerplay and Jake Allen would shut them down. This would prove to be a theme in the period. Nashville would hold St. Louis without a shot for nearly 13 minutes in the period, outshooting them 13-0 at one point. Shortly after the powerplay Cody Mcleod would chip one in from a short angle to put the Preds up 2-0. Then Allen would go to work, he would be the reason the Predators would only get the one goal despite outshooting St. Louis 18-4 in the period. Unfortunately for Nashville, the Blues would score on their first shot of the period making it a 2-1 game on a deflection from Alex Steen. Pekka Rinne would keep it that way on a great stop of David Perron on a breakaway chance.
The third period started with a lot of tight defensive play, as neither team was getting much going early on. Then Nashville took what was the shift of the game. They cycled the Blues for almost a full minute in the zone before Roman Josi let go a blast with Harry Zolnierczyk set up in front for a 3-1 lead. St. Louis pulled Allen with about 4 minutes to go in the game and where unable to get one past Rinne and the Predators hung on for the victory.
This game really felt like the 1st game of the series that Nashville, not only played their game, but didn’t let the Blues get theirs going. This will be key moving forward. If the Predators can put a few more efforts like this together they could be moving on to the next round.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Nashville at 8:30 pm CT.
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