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Blues develop genuine dislike for Predators

St. Louis forwards David Perron, Patrik Berglund not backing down from physical play, but need to contribute offensively

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

NASHVILLE -- The St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators had never faced each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs until now, which can sometimes lead to a lack of what makes a playoff series great.

Animosity.

If that was the case before the start of this Western Conference Second Round series, it isn't anymore.

 

[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Predators series coverage]

 

The Predators lead the best-of-7 series 2-1, with Game 4 to be played at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports). If the Predators' 3-1 win in Game 3 was any indication, we should see some fireworks in Game 4.

"I think coming into this series one of my concerns was that we didn't really hate this team," Blues coach Mike Yeo said Monday. "I think we've got to the point where we're over that now."

Yeo was answering a question specifically about forwards David Perron and Patrik Berglund, who have been quiet in this series with one assist and five shots on goal in three games between them. Yeo took Alexander Steen off their line midway through Game 3 and replaced him with Ryan Reaves, who usually plays on the fourth line.

Video: Blues, Preds mic'd up for thrilling Game 3

"Whether I moved [Reaves] up or moved people down," Yeo said, "that's up for debate."

One area of Perron's game Yeo liked in particular was seeing signs of aggression in after-the-whistle incidents. But he knows that won't be enough to help the Blues win, that he and Berglund need to find the back of the net at some point to provide offensive support for players such as Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and Paul Stastny.

"We need them, there's no question," Yeo said. "I think they can be a real huge factor in this series going forward. I think they have more in their game as far as getting into the offensive zone, getting in on the forecheck, being physical, making life miserable for their defensemen. I think we can do a better job of that. I think their line in particular can do a better job of that."

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