The Predators are up 2-1 heading into game 4 at home in what is likely the biggest game of the series. Win and the Preds are up 3-1 with a commanding lead, only one win away from their first Western Conference Final appearance. Lose and they’re tied 2-2 with only one game left in their own barn.
St. Louis knows the stakes mentioned above for this game. They know this is a virtual must-win for them, and they are going to come out hard and dangerous.
That all starts with the two guys I mentioned Sunday: Vladimir Tarasenko and Jake Allen. The Predators need to get in their grill early and often. The Predators were able to hold Tank to three shots in the game Sunday afternoon. Jake Allen made some very clutch saves to keep the Blues in it, but at the end of the day it was the Predators who came out on top.
One thing St. Louis was able to do last game pretty effectively was get to the net and get shots on net. As you can see from the chart below, although a lot of their shots were from the perimeter there were still quite a few in and around Pekka’s crease. The Steen shot may have been a bit unlucky because Ellis lost his stick, but other than that the Predators need to do a better job of clearing the bodies out from around the crease.
The Nashville Predators look like a team on a mission right now. They are simply outplaying, outworking, and outskating every team they go up against. That cannot change tonight. They need to put their foot on the gas pedal and take the Blues completely out of the series. This is a big one.
If the Predators can get out of this series unscathed sooner rather than later they will be able to rest some bodies for the next game. This will be huge because, quite frankly, they did look a bit worn towards the end of Sunday’s matinee game. The Predators don’t want a seven game series against the Blues with the kind of hockey they play.
Reasons to Watch
1. This is the biggest game of the season. This section’s name is almost superfluous because you shouldn’t even have to be convinced to watch this game. Just do it.
2. Filip Forsberg. I said it before last game and I’ll say it again: Filip Forsberg has been everywhere on the ice during this series. When there’s smoke there’s fire and right now his hands are smoking because he’s been making some insane plays with the puck.
3. Bump up the television ratings! The Predators got their highest television rating ever at a 9.9, which equates to 100,148 people. If you’re at the game make some noise, but you’re also making a difference watching the game at home. Go Preds!
Sights and Sounds
Ah the dreaded 8:30 P.M. start. Break out the coffee and caffeinated mixed drinks, tune in to NBCSN to watch or 102.5 The Game to listen to the great Pete Weber. It might not be a bad idea to listen to Pete’s analysis during the intermissions even if you are watching TV because...Mike Milbury.