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game recap

Defensemen lift Predators past Blues in Game 3

Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi each score to help Nashville take 2-1 series lead against St. Louis

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

NASHVILLE -- The defense continues to drive the offense for the Nashville Predators.

Defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi each scored to help the Predators defeat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

Nashville's defensemen had four points (two goals, two assists) in the win that gave the Predators a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

 

[WATCH: All Blues vs. Predators highlights | RELATED: Complete Nashville vs. St. Louis series coverage]

 

Game 4 is here Tuesday.

At least one defenseman has been a part of 12 of the past 13 goals the Predators have scored in the Stanley Cup Playoffs dating to Game 4 of their first-round sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks.

"Obviously, with our defense, we have a lot of defensemen that can move their feet, find open lanes and shift and skate and turn and be deceptive in terms of protecting the puck," defenseman P.K. Subban said.

Subban had an assist on Ellis' goal at 10:34 of the first period that gave Nashville a 1-0 lead. Ellis took a pass at the point from forward Colton Sissons and got a shot past Jake Allen.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm3: Ellis opens scoring from the point

"We have great forwards that have the skill level to make a play, make a fake, and then find our defenseman when they are open," Subban said. "We have to continue to do that."

With his goal in Game 3, Ellis has points in six straight playoff games (three goals, five assists), a record for a Nashville defenseman. Forward Colin Wilson holds the Predators record with a point in seven straight playoff games.

Josi made it 3-1 when he scored with a slap shot at 14:11 of the third period.

Defenseman Mattias Ekholm had the secondary assist on a goal by Cody McLeod at 2:29 of the second period that gave Nashville a 2-0 lead.

Pekka Rinne made 22 saves for the Predators.

Video: STL@WSH, Gm3: Rinne denies Tarasenko on power play

Allen made 31 saves and Alexander Steen scored for the Blues.

Steen made it 2-1 at 12:59 of the second.

"It's two tough teams," Steen said. "We knew it was going to be a tough series. Up until this point, I don't think it has disappointed. We've gone back and forth. I like, especially what we did the second half of this game. We battled back, clawed back in a game where we don't get the lead early. That's playoff hockey. I like our groove, our mentality and the way we keep going at it."

Video: STL@NSH, Gm3: Steen lights lamp with redirect in 2nd

 
Goal of the game

McLeod was denied on his initial shot after taking a pass from Sissons. McLeod found the loose puck on the goal line to the left of Allen and flipped a bad-angle shot that banked off the goaltender and into the net.

"I just tried to send it back to the net and create a scramble," McLeod said. "Luckily it bounced in."

Video: STL@NSH, Gm3: McLeod sends home his own rebound

 
Save of the game

Nashville had an opportunity to take a 3-0 lead at 7:15 of the second period when Filip Forsberg slid a cross-crease pass to Ellis for a one-timer. Allen was able to get from post-to-post to deny Ellis.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm3: Allen slides over to stone Ellis

 
Highlight of the game

Nashville had a 2-1 lead with 7:00 left in the third period when it gained possession of the puck in the attacking zone. The Predators cycled the puck and maintained possession for more than 90 seconds before Josi scored.

"You are killing time, but you are looking to create offense there, too," Nashville defenseman Matt Irwin said. "We knew they were tired and we were able to roll a couple of lines out there fresh and when we got the look we were looking for [Josi] had a great shot."

Video: STL@NSH, Gm3: Josi scores through traffic from point

 
Unsung performance of the game

Predators center Calle Jarnkrok won 16-of-19 faceoffs (84.2 percent). Nashville won 39-of-63 faceoffs (62 percent).

 

They said it

"They battled hard and we know they are a team that doesn't really give up. It's hard to demoralize them. They just bounce back up. If you score on them or they are not getting much going, they just continue to play the game and grind it out." -- Predators defenseman P.K. Subban on the Blues

 

"We scored one goal tonight. Fact of the matter is for a large part of the game we weren't even competitive. And so we obviously have to be way better. We have to make a couple changes, personnel-wise for the next game and look at the tape and see what we can do a little bit differently and a little bit better than tonight because it wasn't good enough." -- Blues coach Mike Yeo

 

Need to know

The Predators are 6-1 and have had 13 different players score in the postseason. … The Blues got their first shot on goal of the second period at 12:59.

 

What's next

Game 4 of Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports)

 

Video: Ellis, Josi lift Predators past Blues in Game 3

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