The Blues took the victory in Game Five to avoid elimination, however, and that’s complicated things for the Predators.
The good news for Nashville fans is that their team hasn’t lost back-to-back games in this post-season. They’re 7-2, but Game Five didn’t do them any favours and they weren’t happy with their effort on Friday.
The Blues played desperate hockey and will come up with the same jam on Sunday. They scored the first goal of the game on Friday and set the stage, but there’s a problem: Game Six is in Nashville.
The Predators have won eight consecutive playoff games at home and are 4-0 at home in this post-season. The home team has held advantage in four of five games in the series.
“That building is rocking, always is,” Blues goaltender Jake Allen said of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. “It’s fun to play in. They love playing there. I think we’ve got a lot of pride in shutting teams down in their building and we’re going to have a huge test Sunday.”
That’s probably an understatement.
St. Louis has some issues to work through. Forward Vladimir Tarasenko is one of them, as he hasn’t had a point since Game Two.
And the Blues’ power play hasn’t been good. They’re two for 29 and one for 14 against the Predators. They went zero for five on Friday. Compare that to last year’s 15 for 57 post-season power play run and you’ve got a problem.
Of course, Nashville has been handling the perimeter well and limiting chances. St. Louis hasn’t been able to set much up in terms of point shots and their puck movement has been sluggish on the man advantage, which prevents openings. The Blues will look to simplify the effort for Sunday, which means lots of traffic in front of Pekka Rinne and lots of movement from shorter, quicker passing.
That’s not to say the Predators have nothing to work on or nothing to worry about.
“We feel like it’s a must win,” forward Colton Sissons said. “We’re going to treat it like it. It’s more of a Game Seven than anything. We’re going to be ready to go and play a lot better and hopefully close this series out.”
Part of the reason St. Louis took home a win in Game Five was their ability to limit Nashville shots. They held them to just 22, many of which weren’t enough to challenge Allen.
The Predators will have to find a way to work back into their game. Luckily, having momentum going at home will count for an awful lot.