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Predators lose but clinch playoff berth

Fall to Blues in key Central Division game, then get in postseason

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The Nashville Predators clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs about 6 1/2 hours after they lost 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Sunday.

The Predators (40-28-11) clinched when the Los Angeles Kings lost 2-1 to the Arizona Coyotes.

"We don't care how it happens," Nashville captain Mike Fisher said. "No one will remember that two days from now as long as you're in. That's the main focus, playing hard going into the playoffs but obviously clinching is first."

Ryan Johansen scored, and Juuse Saros made 21 saves for the Predators, who went 2-3-0 playing five games in seven days.

 

WATCH: All Predators vs. Blues highlights

 

St. Louis (43-28-7) is two points ahead of Nashville for third place in the Central Division with one game in hand.

"It was a big game; this has been on our schedule for a while," Blues goalie Jake Allen said. "We knew it was going to come down to between us and Nashville there for the race in the standings. We were ready, we played well. We got out of that first 10 crazy minutes there with not much harm done, and that carried some momentum for us."

Alexander Steen and David Perron scored for St. Louis in the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Allen made 35 saves and is 9-1-2 in his past 12 starts, allowing two or fewer goals in 10 of 12.

Video: NSH@STL: Steen powers home loose puck in front

Perron had a goal and two assists, and Vladimir Tarasenko and Joel Edmundson also scored for the Blues, who are 5-0-1 in their past six games at home and 12-1-2 in the past 15 games.

"It was a real strong effort," St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said. "You could tell right from the beginning that the emotion and the intensity was there. We didn't have to say a lot as a staff. The guys, they were clearly ready for this one."

Tarasenko gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 5:22 of the first period, 19 seconds after a Nashville power play that included 1:04 of 5-on-3.

Johansen tied it 1-1 at 11:22 during a 5-on-3 power play.

Video: NSH@STL: Johansen buries a juicy rebound for a PPG

Steen put the Blues ahead 2-1 55 seconds into the second after a pass by Perron, who made it 3-1 at 6:47.

Edmundson made it 4-1 at 8:11 of the third period.

 

Goal of the game

Perron fought off Predators defenseman P.K. Subban and curled around him before finding the corner of the net with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Video: NSH@STL: Perron shows off hands to pot gritty goal

 
Save of the game

Allen made a save on Craig Smith with 2:47 remaining in the second period that preserved a 3-1 lead.

Video: NSH@STL: Allen stands tall to deny shot with his mask

 
Highlight of the game

Tarasenko snapped a shot from the bottom of the left circle short side off the short side post and into the top of the net to shift momentum.

Video: NSH@STL: Tarasenko pots scorcher from a tough angle

 
Unsung performance of the game

Edmundson not only scored but led the Blues with five shots on goal and four blocked shots in 17:19 of ice time.

Video: NSH@STL: Edmundson steals puck, pots own rebound

 
They said it

"This team rises to the occasion this year. We've done it in big games, games that have mattered. I wasn't surprised by the effort. I thought emotionally we were really invested. We did a really good job of getting into the game. These afternoon games are always a little bit challenging, but it didn't really faze us." -- Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo

 

"Both our goalies have been playing so well. It's given us a lot of confidence. It's a sense of calm, I think defensively we're playing extremely smart." -- Blues forward Alexander Steen

 

"We had an early game yesterday so we got here early, but the schedule has been tough. It's probably tough for everyone so that can't be an excuse." -- Predators goalie Juuse Saros on playing five games in seven days

 
Need to know

Predators right wing James Neal (upper body) missed his second straight game. ... Blues defenseman Petteri Lindbohm replaced Robert Bortuzzo, who sustained an upper-body injury Friday against the Colorado Avalanche. Lindbohm played 13:57. ... St. Louis left wing Dmitrij Jaskin played for the first time in 10 games, replacing Nail Yakupov.

 
What's next

Predators: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

Blues: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, TSN3, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Perron, Allen lead Blues to 4-1 victory over Preds

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