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Category: St-Louis-Blues

One More Win And The Nashville Predators Are In The Western Conference Final

from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,

A win Friday in St. Louis would clinch the Predators’ first trip to the Western Conference final.

“It’s what we’ve built for all year and put our focus on all year,” said Predators forward James Neal, who padded the team’s lead with a knuckling wrist shot late in the third period. "We’re continuing to get better throughout the playoffs. Each game brings challenges. We’ve been up for them each night.”

The Bridgestone Arena ice surface brimmed with animosity Tuesday. The Predators and Blues understood how the outcome of the game would impact the series. Each hit had a bit more venom behind it. Each post-whistle scrum seemed to draw a larger crowd.

“It’s battles out there,” Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "Every whistle, something’s going on and someone’s trying to do something to get the other one angry or (to) retaliate.”...

“We all know that it’s one win away, something that at least the guys who’ve been drafted by Nashville and groomed by Nashville, we’ve never been there," said Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, who has a 1.33 goals-against average and .953 save percentage during the playoffs after making 32 saves Tuesday. "That’s something that would obviously be amazing and for this organization, too.

"Now we have a chance to really step on their throat, and we can control our destiny. You couldn’t ask for more.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Mad Blues

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Blues managed only one goal for the second consecutive game, so they have little to complain about in terms of not winning Game 4 against Nashville on Tuesday. But they weren’t happy with a turn of events that triggered the Predators’ 2-1 victory.

There was extracurricular activity throughout the game between members of the fourth lines, but when it happened with 15 minutes, 49 seconds left in regulation, the penalties handed out were not what many except the crowd of 17,273 at Bridgestone Arena might have expected.

The sequence resulted with the Blues’ Joel Edmundson and Ryan Reaves, along with Nashville’s Cody McLeod, being assessed roughing penalties, and on the ensuing power play Ryan Ellis broke open the scoring. The Predators added a goal by James Neal with 6:57 to play, and that stood as the game-winner after Edmundson scored with 3:49 to go....

The Blues know one goal per game won't cut it against the Predators and admitted that a too many men on the ice penalty on the power play in Game 4 was costly, but they all left Music City singing the same tune about the turning point in Tuesday's game.

"I think it’s a terrible call,” Reaves said. “I disagree with it 100 percent. There’s 10 guys all grabbing one guy and you pick one extra on one team in a crucial part of the game in a big series … I think it’s bad judgment.”

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Below are two videos- game highlights and Mike Yeo post-game...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

It’s All About Compete Level For The St. Louis Blues

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

In a playoff series in which each team’s fate has been deserved, there was no development more fair than Robert Bortuzzo’s shot ringing off the post in the third period of Game 3 Sunday.

The Blues didn’t deserve to be tied with Nashville, and order was restored when Predators defenseman Roman Josi put the game out of reach in a 3-1 victory for the hosts at Bridgestone Arena.

Unprovoked coach Mike Yeo admitted as much after seeing his club fall behind two games to one in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Nashville.

“We scored one goal (today) and fact of the matter is, we weren’t even competitive,” Yeo said. “We obviously have to be way better. We have to make a couple of changes personnel-wise for the next game and look at the tape and see what we can do a little bit differently and a little bit better than tonight because it wasn’t good enough.”

continued

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Penalties Kill The Nashville Predators

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

The Nashville Predators were down a man for 11 of 60 minutes in their first loss of the postseason and never had a single power play, but they did not complain.

Well, not exactly. Peter Laviolette may have wanted to, but he got out of there Friday night after a 70-second press conference. Never one to elaborate on much, Laviolette was itching to bolt the scene of the Predators’ 3-2 loss to St. Louis in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

He did drop this nugget before departing: “Once we were done killing penalties, I thought we played pretty well.”

And Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, the would-be hero before his team blew a 2-1 lead in the third period, had this when asked if the Preds were undisciplined: “Ask the refs.”

“It's disappointing to be up halfway through the third there (and lose),” Ellis said. “But we've got to stay out of the box, maybe get a call here and there, and just capitalize on our chances.”

OK, that’s definitely some light shade thrown at the refs. And that’s fine, whether it’s deserved or not. In fact, if I were the Predators I’d keep mentioning the disparity — it was officially 23 penalty minutes for Nashville and 2 for St. Louis — all the way up to the 2 p.m. puck drop for Sunday’s Game 3 at Bridgestone Arena.

Who cares if you get criticized for whining? This is the playoffs, a 1-1 series, and campaigning for calls in the next game is fair game.

continued

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Vernon Fiddler Five For Kneeing And A Game Misconduct

Colton Parayko went to the room but did return for the 2nd period.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vernon+fiddler

The St. Louis Blues Drop Game 1 To The Nashville Predators

from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Look, five-on-five, this Blues-Predators series is evenly matched.

But the Blues lost their grip on Game 1, and, yes, they let one slip out of their hands.

What did the Blues learn about Nashville, in terms to adjustments going forward?

“Stay out of the box,” Jake Allen said.

To be fair, Jake also took the blame for the game-losing goal (though some offensive defense set up the play).

But those Predators hurried out of Scottrade Center with a win in their hockey bags, thanks in part to a pair of power-play goals.

Nashville 4, St. Louis 3.

Hey, at least we’ll actually have some scoring in this series.

“First off, penalty kill, we need to be sharper there,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said.

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Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The St. Louis Blues Need To Take Advantage Of Home Ice

from Jeremy Rutherford and Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

In the past two years, the Blues' combined postseason record is 5-7 at home and 9-4 on the road. They are 1-1 at home and 3-0 on the road this season, after going 4-6 at home and 6-4 on the road last year.

"Especially when you have home ice, you want to win your home games," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "It's one of those things, late in the year, we've played well on the road, won some games. We feel comfortable playing wherever. If there's something to improve, our home record could be a little better. In the first round, did we win one at home? That's a pretty small sample size though. You prepare like anything else. You want to win the games and take advantage of home ice."

Blues coach Mike Yeo obviously wasn't around last season, and said he doesn't have an opinion on it, but did say "looking at our play on the road, we're going into tough buildings, and I think there's an understanding of how we have to play the game and make sure that doesn't change when play at home. That's part of the challenge. It's the beauty of the game is how you prepare and how you get ready for your opponent and I think watching what (Nashville) did in round one makes it pretty easy for us in terms of our preparation and how we have to approach how we handle them."

In sweeping Chicago, Nashville won Game Nos. 1-2 at United Center by a combined score of 6-0. Goalie Pekka Rinne made 59 saves in the back-to-back shutouts for the Predators.

Rinne said Wednesday that the Preds will try to bring some of that confidence they gained from winning in Chicago to St. Louis.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The St. Louis Blues Continue To Improve Under Mike Yeo

from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

This series win isn’t about who the Blues beat, but how the Blues got to the second round — Yeo learning from his mistakes in Minnesota to reignite St. Louis, after the late-January Blues hit, Yeo’s words, rock bottom.

“I think (I’ve improved) just the way that I handle situations, players,” said Yeo, who was hired as the coach-in-waiting but became the coach on Feb. 1. “I think my understanding of the game is probably similar to what it was, but (it’s more) as far as working with the group and being a leader for the group.”

The Blues were in transition, you might have heard.

The Blues were playing with house money, you might have read.

And here they are, ready to join an exodus of broke musicians and bachelorette parties on the road to Nashville.

The Blues don’t play perfect hockey. On Saturday, they played much of the third period with a preventative mindset that irked Yeo. And they made a couple of dumb penalties (or, in regards to the Wild defenseman who tripped a Blue while Minnesota was on the power play, “Dumba” penalties). But Yeo has cooked up the right lines and right energy to go from rock bottom to rocky top Tennessee.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Minnesota Wild Comeback Ends In OT

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

The Wild didn't go quietly Saturday afternoon, but few will remember the Wild's franchise-best regular season now that the team couldn't even get past Game 5 of the first round.

Once again, the effort was there, and other than the first 10 ½ minutes, so was the better play. But in the end, the Wild couldn't complete a third-period comeback from two goals down by losing 4-3 in a season-eliminating overtime.

"What is this, five years in a row? I'm sick of it," said center Erik Haula, who was elevated when Eric Staal sustained a scary-looking head injury in the second period. "We're all sick of it."

A team with Stanley Cup aspirations, one that went 30-6-3 during a three-month stretch, got career-best seasons from several players and scored a franchise-record 266 goals, ended in a thud to its former coach with eight goals in the entire series, four at 5-on-5.

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Below watch the game highlights adn handshakes...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The St. Louis Blues Fail To Close Out The Series Against The Minnesota Wild

from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Blues are now 2-4 in closeout games in the past two seasons.

Vladimir Tarasenko, who did have a good stretch in the second period Wednesday, still hasn't scored in the series.

And that the old Wild has awakened - the team that played the first two-thirds of the season.

See, the Wild was really, really good until the last month. It was possible they could've ended up with the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference, if they didn't turn into the “January St. Louis Blues” in March and April.

Much of the problem was Dubnyk. And now he's proving to be the solution, and that's a scary proposition.

“That’s what we need from him every night if we’re going to turn this thing around,” said Hanzal, whose team hosts Game 5 on Saturday at 2 p.m. “He has to be our best player and that’s what he did tonight. We have to do the same thing on Saturday, because everybody in this room still believes we can do it. I believe too, and if we play like this the rest of the series, we’re going to do it.”

Uh oh.

That doesn't sound good.

continued

Below, watch the highlights from the 2-0 Wild win over the Blues...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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