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Round 2

Blues look to improve special teams in Game 2 against Predators

St. Louis must be better on power play, penalty kill to even series

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues will look to fix some mistakes and even their Western Conference Second Round series against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 at Scottrade Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Blues lost 4-3 on home ice in Game 1 of the best-of-7 on Wednesday and were not impressed with their special teams. The Predators scored twice on the power play (2-for-3) and outshot the Blues 13-1 with the man-advantage. St. Louis outshot Nashville 29-19 at 5-on-5.

"Penalties killed us," Blues right wing Ryan Reaves said after practice Thursday. "We've obviously got to eliminate penalties. Playoff hockey, teams are going to make you pay."

The Blues have allowed four power-play goals in their past two games (4-for-9). They have one power-play goal in six Stanley Cup Playoff games (1-for-16)

"There's obviously some positives we can pull from it, but also at the same time, it's little things we have to focus on, things we have to improve on to continue to get better over the course of the series," St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko said. "I think that we had a lot of good things, but obviously we have to focus on some things there to make us successful."

Video: NSH@STL, Gm1: Parayko shows patience, goes five-hole

The Blues are 1-2 at home in the playoffs and 5-8 the past two seasons. The defeated the Minnesota Wild in five games in the first round, winning three road games.

"You never want to be down 2-0," St. Louis defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said. "That's going to be a tough one, so tomorrow's going to be a huge game. We'll do everything we can to get a split here at home and then move onto Nashville, but let's not talk about Game 3 until Game 2 is played. That's all our focus is on right now.

"... We know [this series is] a little bit different than in the first round, and we've got to keep things 5-on-5. I think a big part is we showed in the third period [Wednesday] what we've got. We've just got to keep that for 60 minutes, have a good start and keep it 5-on-5 because they showed they've got some big weapons on the power play. ... The way we played in the third is probably the way we want to play more than anything."

The Blues trailed 3-1 on Wednesday before tying the game in the third period. Vernon Fiddler scored the game-winning goal with 5:05 remaining to give St. Louis its first loss under coach Mike Yeo when scoring three or more goals (20-1-0).

"Today is about finding answers," Yeo said. "When you're in a playoff series, it's a process in terms of learning your opponent but trying to improve your game, trying to find ways to limit them getting to their game (and) trying to find more ways to get to yours. Last game was the first step of that and today is the next.

"... We can say that we did some good things and we can feel good about the fact that we got a few even-strength goals, but I think one thing they do particularly well is they don't beat themselves and they give you a chance to beat yourself and I think we did that through the course of the game. That's going to be the challenge."

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