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5 Keys: Blues at Predators, Game 3

Nashville aims to keep home-ice advantage; St. Louis unbeaten on road during Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent


3 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN

Best-of-7 series is tied 1-1

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators host the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round with a chance to maintain home-ice advantage in the series.

The Predators have scored 19 goals through six Stanley Cup Playoff games, including seven in two home games. 

The Blues have won five consecutive games on the road since the regular season. 

Here are five keys for Game 3:


1. Stay out of the box

Penalties have been a story so far. The Predators were 2-for-3 on the power play in Game 1, a 4-3 win, and the Blues were 1-for-5 in Game 2, which they won 3-2.

"We hate the result of [Game 2], but I thought once we got past the point where we were in the penalty box, I thought that our guys responded pretty good to the game," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "In the third period, we got going. It was just unfortunate it didn't work out for us."

Video: Predators, Blues mic'd up for thrilling Game 2


2. Take advantage of home ice

The Predators were able to get a split on the road in and have a chance to take advantage of home ice starting in Game 3. They are 2-0 at Bridgestone Arena in the playoffs. 

"We feel like we can play better in certain areas for 60 minutes," Predators captain Mike Fisher said. "We know there's another gear for us and we've got to find it here at home."

3. Vladimir Tarasenko leading the way

Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals for the Blues in Game 2, including the game-winner. His production could be even more important on the road, where the Blues are not able to dictate the matchups as often as when they're on home ice. 

"He's really got his stick going now," Blues goaltender Jake Allen said. "I think he was a little frustrated with himself in the first series. He's a premier goal scorer and to be able to not score in the first few games was tough on him and I think he took it to heart. He's been practicing really hard the last couple of days shooting pucks in practice and stuff. It's paying off."


4. Road success

The Blues are 3-0 on the road during the playoffs and will have to continue that success away from Scottrade Center. They will have to win at least one game on the road after the Predators won Game 1 in St. Louis.

The Blues are confident after evening the series in Game 2.

"We knew it was going to be a long series," Allen said. "I don't think either team thought it was going to be a sweep, for one side or the other. That's going to be rare in these ages. We're still in for a long series, just have to get rest and go into a tough building."

Video: Clutch Performance: Tarasenko nets two goals vs. NSH


5. Matchup change

The Predators will be able to better dictate the matchups at home. They have largely relied on Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi to play against the Tarasenko line in the first two games, a trend that could continue in Game 3.
"That's a good team over there," Josi said. "They're going to have their chances. We're going to have to play defense. You just try to limit those and try to limit the 'A' chances, and maybe give them a shot from a little bit further outside." 


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Paul Stastny -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Ivan Barbeshev -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Sobotka

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko 

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Magnus Paajarvi, Zach Sanford, Dmitrij Jaksin, Jordan Schmaltz

Injured: Robby Fabbri (knee), Nail Yakupov (lower body)


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Wilson -- Colton Sissons -- James Neal

Miikka Salomaki -- Mike Fisher -- Calle Jarnkrok

Cody McLeod -- Vernon Fiddler -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Frederick Gaudreau, Brad Hunt, PA Parenteau, Harry Zolnierczyk

Injured: Pontus Aberg (undisclosed), Craig Smith (undisclosed)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate. … Parayko took a knee-on-knee hit from Fiddler in the first period of Game 2 but returned and is expected to play in Game 3. … The Predators had an optional practice Saturday. 


Who's hot

Tarasenko has two goals in the series. … Ellis has three points (one goal, two assists) in the series and seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past five games. … Johansen has seven points (one goal, six assists) in six playoff games.

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