The Predators beat the Blues at Bridgestone tonight, clawing back all the muck that the Blues were hurling at them and willing themselves to a 2-1 win. James Neal had the game winning goal in the 3rd period after Ryan Ellis scored earlier in the period to make it 1-0.
Even with all the energy in the building, the first period was a dud. The Blues came out firing, getting the first four shots of the game, but Pekka Rinne was locked in early. The Preds countered somewhat, eventually getting the only power play of the period. Nothing doing. With Jake Allen and Rinne both playing well in net, the period was scoreless and pretty forgettable.
The Preds responded in the 2nd period with some furious play in front of Allen. He stopped the Preds multiple times early in the period, a trend that would continue throughout the period. Viktor Arvidsson, Mike Fisher, Ryan Johansen, and a host of others had great chances in front, but couldn’t capitalize. Allen was there.
At the other end, Rinne also played swell. He had 17 saves through two periods, including a couple scrambles with the Blues on the power play.
It was a scoreless game going into the 3rd period.
The Preds changed that. After getting a power play following a kerfuffle in front of the benches, Ryan Ellis scores his 4th goal of the playoffs and puts the Preds up 1-0. It was a scramble in front of the net and the puck came right to Ellis in the circle. Nothing but net.
Following that was some nonsense refereeing, followed by some intense play at either end. Things got REAL loud when James Neal scored to make it 2-0. It definitely wasn’t the hardest shot he’s ever launched, but it worked.
The Blues did manage to score, but it didn’t matter. The Preds held on for the 2-1 win and find themselves completely in the driver’s seat.
- No major changes to the Preds lineup. The Blues add Zach Sanford to the 2nd line. That’s the guy they got in the Shattenkirk trade, by the way. No Brodziak.
- Blues came out with a lot of pressure, but the Preds handled it ok. Early Preds PP goes to waste, though, as they couldn’t really get the setup they wanted.
- Man, the Blues just keep coming. They’ve had several great chances right in front of Rinne.
- Not sure what it is, but the JOFA line seems a bit off. Like they, I don’t know, aren’t working together or something. They’ll get there.
- That first period was dumb.
- A better start to the 2nd period. JOFA line had an insane play at the front of the net, but Allen stopped it. The Preds also had another one of those extended shifts in the OZ, but this one didn’t result in a goal.
- Are the Preds pulling the ole rope-a-dope? They have yet to reach “that gear” that we’ve seen so far in seven games.
- To be fair, the Blues are playing well. They’ve been really tough in the neutral zone.
- Things are getting hairy in here. McLeod and Reaves playing rough with each other’s faces.
- Austin Watson just destroyed Paajarvi. Complete body check behind Allen.
- I have no idea how Allen stopped that shot on Neal. Complete stretch, got it with his skate.
- The goalies have been outstanding in this game.
- Finally, a full-on fight breaks out. Preds get a power play out of this.
- RYAN FREAKING ELLIS. The Preds capitalize! Huge, huge goal.
- Then Edmundson goes high on the cross-check to Subban’s head. He’ll get a penalty. But so will Subban? He went to the locker room for crying out loud!
- Things are very, very dicey.
- Oh good, the Blues scored. No.
- An afterthought. Preds win!
OTF’s Super Duper Playoff Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne: 33 saves on the night and couldn’t have played better. He was sensational.
- Ryan Ellis: What do you even say? He has been insane. A goal at one end, stopped a goal at the other end.
- James Neal: So great to see him score tonight. It wasn’t the snipe we all imagined, but it didn’t need to be.
Tweets of the Night
When Arvidsson forechecks Parayko, it looks like a father/son game.— Jim Diamond (@diamondhockey) May 3, 2017
Hunter Hayes? Doesn't he have school tomorrow?— Chris Brooks (@CBrooksTN) May 3, 2017
I feel like this game would be the embodiment of peak SEC football: whole lotta hittin, whole lotta speed, very little scorin #Preds— RJ O'Connell (@rjoconnell) May 3, 2017
who told me pekka was washed before the playoffs started? you lied— Tony X. (@soIoucity) May 3, 2017
Arvy has hit more posts this series than the Hawks scored goals.— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) May 3, 2017
All of #Smashville rn. #Preds #STLvsNSH pic.twitter.com/mArzRUdtWK— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) May 3, 2017