The Nashville Predators took a 1-0 series lead against the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night at the Scottrade Center. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Kevin Fiala, who will miss the rest of the playoffs with a broken femur.
However, for the first time in franchise history, Nashville holds a lead in a playoff series in the second round.
St. Louis rode the red-hot Jake Allen through its first-round series against the Minnesota Wild where they were outplayed in every facet of the series - except goaltending. Allen had the second-best goals-against-average, behind Pekka Rinne in the first round. Allen looked beatable in Game 1, allowing four goals.
The Blues are averaging 2.33 goals per game - ninth best out of playoff teams. Jaden Schwartz leads the Blues in playoff points with 6 (3 goals, 3 assists), followed by Vladimir Sabotka with 4 (2 goals, 2 assists).
This is the first time St. Louis has been behind in a series this postseason, if they want to even the score they will need more offense and a better defensive effort. Despite losing Fiala, the Preds battled through adversity to take Game 1 and their confidence is riding high.
Nashville won the regular-season series 3-2, and have won five of the last seven meetings between the two.
Pekka Rinne is the hottest goalie in the playoffs. He currently leads all goalies in goals-against-average (1.14), save percentage (.962), wins (5), shutouts (2), goals allowed (6) and points (2).
The Preds have scored the third-most goals in the playoffs, 17, and are tied for second averaging 3.4 goals per game. Their leading playoff scorer is Ryan Johansen with 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists). Johansen is playing perhaps the best hockey of his career and has been a great catalyst in the middle of the JOFA line — who have scored a combined 17 points in five games.
With P.K. Subban’s offensive breakout in Game 1, Nashville has gotten 14 points through five games from him, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. Nashville is in the best situation it has ever experienced in the playoffs. The Preds’ motto this postseason has been “foot on the gas,” which is exactly how they need to play in Game 2.
Reasons to Watch
- Nashville is undefeated in the playoffs thus far, and is riding the hottest goalie in the league. The Preds went into Chicago and took home ice away from the mighty Blackhawks, and have managed to do so against St. Louis as well. But, can they sweep the Blues at home and bring a 2-0 series lead back to Nashville for back-to-back rounds?
- In 17 career games against the Blues, Filip Forsberg has 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists). He has 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists) in his last seven games, and with Fiala out, he will be looked at to provide a spark to the Preds offense.
- P.K. Subban became the first Preds defenseman to record three points in a playoff game. He shutdown Jonathan Toews in the first round, and after his offensive explosion Wednesday night, he just might become the playoff beast Nashville fans have been waiting for.
Sights & Sounds
You can catch the game at 7 p.m. CST on NBCSports. And as always, you can listen to 102.5 the Game and listen to the sweet voice of Pete Weber.