February 22, 2018

Predators oust Blues to make franchise history

19 May 2017, 10:19 | Joan Schultz

This Nashville Predators answered that emphatically, especially after a start that could generously called "tight" with a resounding 3-1 win to capture their second round series with the St. Louis Blues. The roster shake-up continued into the season with the firing of coach Ken Hitchcock on February 1 and the trade of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk not long after. But first they'll have to win in Nashville on Sunday, which is no small task: the Blues were stymied offensively the last time they visited in Game 4.

Game 7 is Wednesday at Anaheim. You could argue it began a decade ago when he brought in an aging, banged-up, 33-year-old Peter Forsberg for Scottie Upshall, 19-year-old defence prospect Ryan Parent and two draft picks.

Josi had a goal and assist in yesterday's clinching game, and in the dressing room Subban grabbed the recorder of Predators communications coordinator Brooks Bratten to conduct a brief interview. If the team falls apart in the Western Conference finals, at least fans will have someone to point their fingers at and blame. Now they're the NHL's first team to reach a conference final. The most notable defenseman is P.K. Subban, but he's only part of the equation. Someone had to win and lose that series, and obviously I think we were good enough to win the series, but it's not like I felt we under-performed, where in the past I felt we haven't met our own potential. Our ultimate goal is to win a Stanley Cup.

"We've worked really hard to put ourselves in a good position".

And both Ryan Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok scored in the third despite the Predators finishing with just 18 shots on goal. Like Allen for the Blues, Pekka Rinne has been sensational for the Predators. "We're going to enjoy it now for a few minutes and forget it and go get another one". "It's a great feeling, but there's a lot of work left".

"If we were a little bit better in an area here or there, then that series could have taken a different turn and who knows what we're saying", Yeo said. And some nights they looked like an American Hockey League team playing together for the first time. I think nobody (is) happy with the result and we have time to think about it.

They were finally able to use their size advantage to force the puck down low and keep traffic away from the front of the net, further frustrating the Predators top line who after combining for 15 points in the first round have been held to only 3 in the second. Grammy winners Lady Antebellum sang the national anthem, the latest country stars to handle the honor.

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It's another win-or-go-home game on Sunday, and it gets tougher in less friendly confines than Scottrade Center-the Blues, especially offensively, will have to pull out all the stops.

They shut down the Nashville defense by getting bodies in shooting lanes and pressuring the puck.

And it has risen to new levels during the team's improbable run through Chicago and St. Louis as the west's eighth seed. Swiss defenceman Roman Josi also scored for Nashville.

On Friday night, the Oilers scored three goals in the second period to open up a 3-0 lead, a lead was still completely intact with under four minutes to play in regulation. Jonathan Bernier came on and finished with 25 saves. Closing out the period tied, with momentum on their side... the penultimate period began. That gave Nashville defensemen nine goals this postseason, a franchise record.

Draisaitl gave the Oilers the lead at 2:45.

It was just the second goal of the playoffs for Johansen, who credited defenseman Yannick Weber for pushing him into the play.

Throughout much of the regular season, such lofty heights might - quite reasonably - have been thought of as unattainable for this Nashville team. Pred Nation delivered three consecutive TV timeout standing ovations, each one louder than the last.

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