The Blues landed in Nashville Tuesday afternoon feeling much better about their series with the Predators, which is tied at one game a piece, then they did after game 1 on Wednesday.
For starters, they overcame a one goal deficit not once but twice Friday night in front of a rowdy and somewhat anxious crowd.
Vladimir Tarasenko netted a couple of clutch goals to lift his team to the win and also moved him up to third most post-season goals in franchise history. Jake Allen was once again rock solid in net, rebounding nicely from a shaky fourth goal on Wednesday night.
The Blues face-off experts were finally able to win the majority share of the draws and Colton Parayko once again proved that he is made of some kind of super-human material.
Jeremy Ruthford asked the young defender what he thought of the knee on knee collision that lead to the 5 minute major,
“I saw him as soon as I came around the net,” Parayko said. “Then I went to play the puck and it bobbled off me. I don’t know if he took a different route or I went a different way, it happens so fast. It’s just one of those things. I’m assuming he wasn’t trying to do it. It’s hockey and the game’s so fast. [stltoday]
While the Blues are finding ways to win, they are still a long way from perfect.
First off, the top pair of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester, who played well in the first series against the Wild, have had trouble getting up to speed. They are a +/- minus 4 and minus 3 respectably and have one lone assist between the two of them over the last two games.
Next would be the Blues second line of Alex Steen, Patrik Berglund and David Perron. Both Perron and Berglund remain scoreless throughout the playoffs, while the likely injured Steen has only tallied two (one of which was on the power play).
Yes, they spent the first game matched up against the Predators top line of Forsberg-Johansen-Arvidsson but a more favorable assignment in game 2 failed to produce any better results.
If the Blues are going to win this series then they must have contributions from all four lines. Tarasenko cannot win this thing by himself.
Lastly the Blues are currently 2 for 17 on the power play and have the second worst conversion percentage (9.5%) of any team in the playoffs. These are golden opportunities that the Blues are letting slip right through their fingers.
The Blues elected to leave St. Louis Saturday morning instead of Friday night so that meant no practice for the Blues on Saturday, so the lines for today’s game remain unknown.
However, I did consult with some of the higher-ups at the Game Time HQ and the general consensus is that Mike Yeo will probably stick with the same lines he had for the start of game 2.
This will be the first time in the series that Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette will get last call on the matchups and it will be interesting to see which way he goes. Either throw his top line out there against Tarasenko in hopes of cooling the red hot Russian sniper or look to use them elsewhere to try and jump start his own offense.
To all the Game Timers that are behind enemy lines, good luck and Godspeed. Bring us home a W.