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Round 2

Blues back home, seek scoring to avoid Game 5 elimination by Predators

St. Louis has one goal in each of two straight losses in second-round series

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues want to make Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne uncomfortable in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Blues accomplished what they wanted in Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Second Round by scoring six times but went on the road for Games 3 and 4 and scored once in each.

It's among the reasons they trail the best-of-7 series 3-1 and face elimination.

"We got our chances, but he is a world-class goalie that doesn't give up rebounds when he sees pucks," Blues left wing Scottie Upshall said of Rinne. "He showed that last night (a 2-1 loss in Game 4). He smothered a lot of good shooting opportunities. We have to get second and third chances, and to do that you have to be standing on top of him, you've got to find ways to skate by him, and, even if he's out of his crease, you're bumping him because you're right there. It's second and third efforts that we need to worry about, and I'm confident we're going to be like that on Friday."

Nashville would reach a conference final for the first time with their next win. The Predators have outscored the Blues 11-8 in this series.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Rinne denies Tarasenko's one-timer

"[Rinne's] been solid, both goalies have been solid," Upshall said, including Jake Allen of St. Louis. "They realize they're in a position they're in because their goaltending has been great and they've been getting timely goals. We've been able to find ways to score at home against Pekka. We need to play a hard-fought game, score the first goal, play with the lead, and get them to react to us."

The Blues defensemen will try to put more shots toward the goal to create loose pucks that are hard to find, much like the goal Ryan Ellis scored to give the Predators a 1-0 lead in Game 4. Jaden Schwartz had an opportunity to give St. Louis the first goal, but his shot hit teammate Vladimir Tarasenko.

"Yesterday, there was a rebound there, I had an open net, and I think I hit Vladi's skate," Schwartz said. "That's just the way it goes sometimes. We've just got to do a better job of making tape-to-tape passes, coming downhill a little bit more and not looking for the perfect pass, just getting them on net and find a way to get rebounds. That's something we obviously want to be better at.

"Their job is to box us out, but we're getting chances, we're getting rebounds. Sometimes whether it's hitting a skate or hitting a stick, I think we're doing a pretty good job. Obviously you can always do better of taking the goalies eyes away and trying to get more numbers there. But for the most part, we've done a pretty good job. And like I said, the first few games we had some bounces going our way and the last couple we didn't. We'll turn that around on Friday."

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