The Nashville Predators have been the surprise team of the National Hockey League playoffs thus far as they swept away the heavily favoured Chicago Blackhawks and can now take the next step to booking their ticket to the Western Conference finals with a game four victory on Tuesday night. Nashville now leads the series 2-1.
Jake Allen remains a stalwart of St. Louis' defense from the net, but Ellis, who scored in his sixth consecutive game Sunday, and the Predators proved too much to handle thanks to their high-flying offense.
Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues players scramble for the puck during the first period in Game 3 of a second-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, April 30, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. The Blues only had 20 shots on goal in the win, while the Predators finish with 24 shots on goal. Rinne made 22 saves on 23 shots, and padded his 1.38 goals allowed average in this year's postseason.
If St. Louis wins, Mayor Barry will ship off a basket of a country music compilation album, an assortment of BBQ sauces and rubs from local providers, Nashville-made Goo Goo Clusters, and a special Predators jersey.
Pekka Rinne collected his seventh win of the postseason on Tuesday night in Game Four, the fifth time in these playoffs he's allowed one goal or less.
Jakob Silfverberg #33 and Josh Manson #42 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate Silfverberg's goal against the Edmonton Oilers.
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The Predators never got the man advantage in losing Game 2 in St. Louis, and they got their first almost midway through the first period. A Nashville win would put the Blues on the brink of elimination heading home for Game 5, but a Blues win would swing the series back to even, with two remaining home games in St. Louis for the Blues.
Coach Mike Sullivan said Hagelin has progressed far enough in his recovery from a lower-body injury to be an option to play for the first time since March 10. One of those belonged to defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who came close to tying the score, 2-2, in Game 3.
"It's about getting pucks through and making good plays at the right time", Ellis said of his postseason success. Game 3 presents a clean slate for the Caps' #70, while a return home could see Fleury take yet another step towards a potential Conn Smythe trophy (yeah, yeah, it's only the second round, but still).
Game 5 is Friday night in St. Louis. After a Blues turnover, James Neal deflected a shot by Ellis at 7:49 of the first period.
Sanford played alongside Alexander Steen and Vladimir Sobotka, where he was all three games in the Wild series. Perhaps the most impressive came in Rinne's crease, with some help from defenseman Ryan Ellis as he swatted the puck off the goal line late in the second stanza to keep things at 0-0. "The goal that he scored in the last game is a playoff-type goal and so it's good on him". "We lost the first game, we couldn't lose this one".
"If we get a chance as a D corps, there are a lot of guys who can skate and we try to join the rush and make something happen", Josi said.