Predators edge Blues for 3-1 series lead

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 action moves to Music City as the Nashville Raptors are getting home ice against the St. Louis Blues in game three of their National Hockey League second round playoff series.

The Nashville Predators are officially on fire in this postseason, and now hold a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals over the St. Louis Blues.

Game 5 is Friday night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, with Nashville a victory away from appearing in its first conference final.

That was one of 15 shots Nashville poured at Allen before St. Louis finally got one on Rinne in the period. Anchoring the entire effort is the veteran Rinne, who has been in Nashville since the 2008 season when he was all of 25.

"We just need to respond well here", Nashville captain Mike Fisher said. The Blues haven't played with the right kind of tenacity against the Predators and that has resulted in them being pushed around and spending a good amount of time in the penalty box.

The first goal of the game came from the snap of Predators' Ryan Ellis at the 10:34 mark of the first period.

The Oilers made it 3-2 just 1:28 into the second.

The Predators' four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round of the postseason was just the beginning. That was most dramatically true when he made this heads up play in backing up Pekka Rinne. Nashville has been on fire at home and in these playoffs and while the value is on St. Louis I see Nashville getting it done again. Several of their goals allowed have come from turnovers in their own zone, which is inexcusable at this time of year. You can expect what is always a loud crowd in Nashville to be on the officials if a similar story plays out today.

Defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi both scored for the Predators, and Cody McLeod also found the back of the net for Nashville.

Ellis scored at 5:09 of the third to break up a scoreless game.

Despite the highlight show, that scoreline lasted less than a minute, before Chris Wagner's first career playoff goal put the Ducks on top for good.

Sanford returned to the Blues' lineup for the first time since Game 4 of the Minnesota series.

"Anytime we can be a plus line or chip one in, it's going to obviously help", McLeod said.

The bottom two forward lines provided relief for the Blues during the regular season when Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, and even Tarasenko went through their respective goal droughts.

Another thing to watch for is whether or not the Predators stick to their current roster or try to go back to a more speed style of game, like Austin Pirkle suggested.

  • Julie Sanders