We knew this series wouldn’t be easy.
Tonight started off with a rather odd first period. The Blues came out hammering away in the Nashville end, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Pekka Rinne was looking sharp early. Then, with the Preds on the ropes, Ryan Ellis fired a shot on goal that deflected in off James Neal. It was 1-0 Preds, somehow.
The tenor of the game changed when Vernon Fiddler made knee-on-knee contact with Colton Parayko, taking him out of the game. Fiddler received a five minute major and a game misconduct—his night was over as well. On the ensuing power play, the Blues tied it on a goal by Vladimir Tarasenko. Thankfully, that was all they got on the power play.
The 2nd period trudged on like a mud fight. Neither team had much momentum. There were turnovers, hits, hits that led to turnovers, a lack of shots, and a lack of scoring. At the end of 40 minutes, it was a 1-1 hockey game. The Preds had to feel alright with that.
Then, Ryan Ellis gave the Preds a 2-1 lead early in the 3rd period when he blasted one by Allen after a turnover forced by Cody McLeod. Things were looking up... then the Blues tied it back up on a goal by Jori Lehtera. The puck bounced up into the air over Rinne’s head and fell right onto Lehtera’s stick, who pounded it home.
The Preds were unable to capitalize on a couple of golden opportunities late in the game and Tarasenko scored his second of the game to give the Blues a 3-2 lead. That lead would hold up and the Blues would walk away with the win.
Maybe the game goes differently if Fiddler doesn’t get that game misconduct, maybe it doesn’t. Either way, this series just reached another level.
Should be a feisty Sunday afternoon.
- Lineup changes: Calle Jarnkrok and Miikka Salomaki are in! Parenteau is out, as well as Fiala, of course. Other than that, everything is the same.
- Really not a good start. Preds look completely overwhelmed in their own zone and can’t get any pressure against the Blues. Somehow it is scoreless due to some nice saves by Rinne and, frankly, some luck.
- BUT NEVER FEAR! THE ROCKET SHIP IS HERE!
- Ryan Ellis fires a rocket onto the net and it bounces in off Sissons and Neal. Neal gets credit for the goal, but that was all Ellis. 1-0 Preds!!
- The Preds have found some life, despite the Blues owning the puck in this 1st period. They seem to be skating better through the neutral zone. Not as tentative.
- Oh man. Fiddler with a nasty knee-on-knee on Parayko.
- 5 minute major and he’s kicked out. That’s a big moment.
- Tarasenko scores.
- This 2nd period is for the birds.
- 3rd period starts and it looks like the Preds have life.
- RYAN ELLIS! OH MAN! He fires one by Allen and the Preds have the lead!!
- Here we go with the turtling.
- Damn. Blues score to tie it up.
- Here we go with the tie game.
- Forsberg and Subban both missed crazy wide open shots. Needed that.
- Oh geez, now it’s 3-2. Tarasenko.
- And that will do it. Series tied 1-1.
OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Ryan Ellis: Two points, including the go-ahead goal in the 3rd.
- James Neal: His first goal of the playoffs comes from standing in front of the net. Do more of that.
- Filip Forsberg: He had so many “almost” moments tonight. He could have had six goals, I swear. Not many players are better when they have the puck than Forsberg.
Tweets of the Night
Amazing how the Blues have played the cleanest game in NHL history— Zack McCann (@zabrmc) April 29, 2017