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Patrik Berglund found form for Blues in Game 5 win against Predators

Had dominant performance playing on new line with Dmitrij Jaskin and Vladimir Sobotka

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / Senior Managing Editor

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo did not hide his displeasure with the play of center Patrik Berglund, but he was also conscious he needed to do his part to help Berglund find his game. 

Yeo did that prior to Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Nashville Predators, putting Berglund in the middle of a line with Dmitrij Jaskin and Vladimir Sobotka and watching the sparks fly. 

The line was the Blues' best possession unit, produced the opening goal by Jaskin and physically dominated the Predators along the walls and in front of the net. 

It was just what the Blues needed in a 2-1 win Friday that allowed them to push the series to Game 6 in Nashville on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports), when they will face elimination in a second straight game. The Blues trail the best-of-7 series 3-2.


[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Predators series coverage]


"That's really encouraging," Yeo said Saturday of Berglund's play in Game 5. "I thought that he took a big step for us in Game 4. I thought there was good signs of where his game was going to. Last game was the Patrik Berglund that we know and value so much. He's done a lot of good things defensively and he's been a part of our game but I thought he was a force last game physically. 

"You see his frame, you see the size of him, when he's imposing his will on people, then he's a real tough guy to deal with." 

Berglund does indeed cast a long shadow at 6-foot-4, 223 pounds, but he wasn't nearly as visible through the first three games. 

On Monday afternoon, a day after the Blues lost 3-1 in Game 3, Yeo was asked how Berglund and David Perron, his linemate at the time, were playing.

"We need them, there's no question," Yeo said. "I think they can be a real huge factor in this series going forward." 

The next day, following the morning skate prior to Game 4, Berglund was sitting at his locker, sweat dripping from everywhere, and acknowledged the reality of what his coach said. 

"That's something you don't even have to mention," he said. "You know when you play good and you know when your game's not where it should be. It's no news to me. It's just the way it is." 

But Yeo also took some ownership for the situation and vowed to help Berglund and Perron find their games. 

"We don't want to just ask people to play better," Yeo said then. "It's one thing as a coach to do that, it's another thing to ask them to do it and try to help them too." 

Berglund played Game 4, a 2-1 Blues loss, with Perron and Magnus Paajarvi and had two shots on goal and three hits in 13:43. 

Forced to juggle his lines for Game 5 because of the loss of forward Alexander Steen, Yeo seemed to find a magical combination in Berglund, Sabotka and Jaskin, who replaced Steen. 

The Blues controlled 65 percent of the unblocked shot attempts and 70 percent of the shots on goal at 5-on-5 when Berglund was on the ice in Game 5, according to 

Jaskin had a game-high eight shots on goal and scored in the second period, but it appeared to be the combination of Sobotka and Berglund that created the biggest spark. 

"He plays with a lot of poise so it's easy to try to find spaces out there to get the puck back, and so on," Berglund said Saturday. "He's not very big, but he's a very physical and strong guy and has really good hockey sense. So he's for sure a very good player." 

Berglund admitted there was a mental hill for him to get past from that point prior to Game 4 to where he sits now, coming off a dominant Game 5 performance and needing to reproduce it in Game 6 to give the Blues the best chance of forcing a Game 7 on Tuesday. 

"In the playoffs you've got to let the bad things go really quickly, otherwise that's going to wear you down," Berglund said. "Obviously we take a look at things that we need to do better, but you can't be thinking about it for very long. 

"You've got to just put it behind you and move forward and that's what we're doing right now."

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