Tonight, the Nashville Predators can punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. However, the St. Louis Blues will be looking to ruin the party. Game 5, in St. Louis should be a physical battle, just as every game in this series has been to this point. The Plaza in front of Bridgestone Arena will be packed with hungry Predator fans and they should get to see a fun one tonight.
Here are the 3 keys to tonight’s matchup:
#1 – Don’t Let Up. If the Predators are going to end this tonight, they must continue to play hard on the Blues. To this point the have frustrated St. Louis with a mixture of their speed and beating the Blues at their own game. Last time out St. Louis tried to get the Predators off their game with attempted intimidation that just didn’t work. Every time the Blues hit, the Preds hit back and they look like a team that is at a loss for what to try next.
#2 – Score First. Nashville is 6-1 when scoring first this year in the playoffs. Scoring first in this game could just be the straw that makes St. Louis fold up their tent. We saw it in the Chicago series. In Game 4 when the 3rd period started and the Blackhawks were down 1-0 going into the frame, they just looked defeated. Clamping down on the Blues and taking the lead could be all it takes to win Game 5.
#3 – The First Ten. So far in this series, the Blues have started the games just a little harder than Nashville. They are going to come out a little extra hard tonight. Nashville must get through those first 10 minutes unscathed and this will just add doubt to a team already doubting themselves.
Tonight’s game is a 7 pm CT start. The game can be seen on NBCSN.
Follow me on Twitter at danieljones@dj_puckplanet