Predators edge Blues 2-1, take 3-1 series lead

Predators edge Blues 2-1, take 3-1 series lead

NASHVILLE — Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis gave goalie Pekka Rinne a hand in the crease with a key save inside the final minute of the second period, then he broke open a scoreless game with a power-play goal.

The St. Louis Blues just don’t agree with how Nashville got the man advantage that led to Ellis’ goal.

James Neal made sure it didn’t matter, scoring the game-winning goal with 6:57 left, as the Predators beat the Blues 2-1 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.

“That was by far the hardest game of the series,” Ellis said. “I thought they played well at both ends of the ice. I thought we played well too. It was deadlocked at zeroes for most of the game and we just got a couple of bounces.”

Rinne outdueled St. Louis’ Jake Allen with 32 saves, and the Predators are a victory from reaching the Western Conference final for the first time in franchise history.

“Obviously that’s something that would be amazing for this organization too,” Rinne said. “Now we have a chance to really step on their throats, and we can control our destiny. You couldn’t ask for more.”

Ellis scored at 5:09 of the third to break up a scoreless game. Neal then scored with 6:57 left to crank up the Nashville celebration as the Predators won their eighth straight playoff game at home.

Joel Edmundson scored with 3:49 left as St. Louis avoided the shutout. Blues coach Mike Yeo pulled Allen late, but they couldn’t beat Rinne again. Allen finished with 23 saves as the Blues lost consecutive road games for the first time since Feb. 28 and March 3.

Game 5 is Friday night in St. Louis.

The Predators got the first goal of the game after a scuffle along the boards in front of the Nashville bench put Edmundson and forward Ryan Reaves in the box for roughing along with Predators forward Cody McLeod. The puck bounced around before Ellis scored on a wrister from the edge of the left circle under Allen’s head as the goalie went down.

Ellis tied the franchise record with a point in his seventh straight playoff game.

Yeo was upset about the call and said he didn’t get an explanation.

“I thought that they did a really good job lobbying for that, and I mean every stoppage they’re yelling at the refs,” Yeo said of the Predators. “They’re talking to the refs, and obviously it worked there. It’s worked all series. Let’s be honest.”

St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo also wasn’t happy with the way the officials called the penalties from the scrum.

“It is the first time I see a referee not let the captain talk to them,” Pietrangelo said. “I am pretty sure that is what the ‘C’ is for, so the league can deal with them.”

Just after Ellis’ goal, Predators defenceman P.K. Subban had his helmet knocked off by Edmundson along the side boards, sending him to the locker room. Subban returned later in the period after being called for embellishment along with Edmundson back in the box for roughing at 5:15 of the third.

“That was a hard-checking have to compete for every inch of ice out there, and I thought our guys did a good job,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.

Allen got help from the crossbar on a shot by Neal and Viktor Arvidsson hit a post. Neal finally scored his second this post-season intercepting the puck, spinning and hitting the top corner with a wrister.

That proved to be the game-winning goal after Edmundson scored with a shot from the left circle through two players in front that banked in past Rinne, giving the Blues a chance.

With a late start, the Predators tapped one of their original fans in country star Vince Gill to sing the anthem along with his daughters, and golfer Brandt Snedeker brought the Ryder Cup with him onto the ice before waving a flag to rev up the crowd.

Former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan also was in the stands for his second game this series wearing a Predators’ sweater.

This was the first game of this series to go scoreless through the first 40 minutes thanks to dazzling saves by both goalies. Rinne looked like the goalie who shut out Chicago twice as Nashville swept the Blackhawks in the first round.

He got that helping hand by Ellis in the final seconds of the second period with the Blues on the power play on a puck that got behind Rinne.

Notes: Ellis’ seven-game point streak is the longest by a defenceman in the post-season since Chris Pronger and Jason Woolley in 1998. … Nashville defencemen have scored a league-leading eight goals this post-season.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

Teresa M. Walker, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Greyhound calls for public transportation fund

Made-for-the-north proposal would open northern routes to bidding process

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Junior boys go 1-2 in Terrace play day this weekend

The junior Kermodes defeated Smithers, but lost to Charles Hays and the senior Centennial boys

Festival of Lights 2017

Church choirs helped kick off the family event in downtown Terrace

Caledonia Kermode basketball team jumps into season

The senior boys played a tournament this weekend in Terrace, winning one, losing two

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

Red Scorpion associates cuffed in drug-trafficking bust

Kamloops RCMP lay charges in connection to Red Scorpion drug trafficking ring

Greyhound calls for public transportation fund

Made-for-the-north proposal would open northern routes to bidding process

Emergency response ‘well executed’ in B.C. carbon monoxide poisoning

Emergency Health Services talks about how first responders dealt with this ‘mass casualty event’

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria

Declaring a victory in Syria, Putin on Monday visited a Russian military air base in the country and announced a partial pullout of Russian forces from the Mideast nation.

Most Read