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Round 2

Blues need more from power play in Game 6 against Predators

St. Louis has to generate offense with man advantage

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- For the St. Louis Blues to keep their season alive, they're going to need a more effective power play.

The Blues will face elimination again in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Nashville Predators on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN). St. Louis trails the best-of-7 series 3-2, and some scoring from the power play could go a long way toward bringing the series back to Scottrade Center for Game 7 on Tuesday.

The Blues are last among the 16 playoff teams on the power play at 6.9 percent (2-for-29). They are 1-for-14 in the series against the Predators, including 0-for-5 in a 2-1 victory in Game 5 on Friday.

That's a far cry from last year, when they Blues' power play was second among 16 teams in the playoffs at 26.3 percent (15-for-57) in 20 games.

In Game 5, the Blues did nothing with a 5-on-3 sequence for 1:50, followed by 1:41 of 5-on-4 time after a double minor for high-sticking against Nashville's Mattias Ekholm. They generated one shot on goal, a 45-foot wrist shot from Alex Pietrangelo. The power-play struggles halted, at least momentarily, the momentum built up from their strong 5-on-5 play and offensive zone forecheck.

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"It's one thing to score goals, but we don't create momentum for the team either right now," right wing David Perron said. "I thought the guys did a good job [Friday]. Even if we weren't good on the power play, we went back in the third and [Jaden Schwartz] gets a big goal for us, didn't get discouraged or anything from that, so that's good in that regard. But we definitely need way more on the power play. I don't know, maybe even up a little bit more two units and kind of roll with whoever's kind of rolling.

"I'm not the coach, so I'm going to let Mike [Yeo] do those decisions and just play. We all want to win here. It's a tight group and it's fun to play right now."

The Predators are able to play more aggressively on the perimeter because the Blues aren't providing any threat from the points and have been slow when moving the puck. The Blues would like to simplify things; get one or two passes, load up shots from the point and get traffic in front of Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

"There's a lot of things we can do better, whether it's faceoffs, our puck movement, I feel like we're slow, I feel like we're deliberate right now," Yeo said. "But I just feel like we're a little bit easy to defend right now. Whether that's puck movement, it's mentality of getting to the net and we have to find a way to execute. You just can't make one pass and assume you can throw it there because it's going to get blocked; it's going to go down the ice.

"We have to find a way to move it up, to move it around, to open some lanes and if we've got odd-man situations and we can create odd-man situations around the net. It's going to make it difficult for them to pressure, and that's what they've been doing a lot of."

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