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game recap

Predators hold off Blues to win Game 4, take 3-1 series lead

Ryan Ellis scores to extend point streak, Pekka Rinne makes 32 saves

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Ryan Ellis and James Neal scored in the third period to give the Nashville Predators a 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

The Predators lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and are 4-0 at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nashville can advance to a conference final for the first time by winning Game 5 at St. Louis on Friday.


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


Ellis scored on the power play to put the Predators ahead 1-0 at 5:09. Filip Forsberg shot, and Ellis got to the puck after it bounced around in the slot and put it past goalie Jake Allen for his fourth goal.

Ellis, a defenseman, has a seven-game point streak, including a goal in three straight.

"It was just another fortunate bounce," Ellis said. "We took a shot, it got blocked, and everyone was kind of looking for it. I was on the other side of the pile. The guys on the ice did a terrific job, not only battling for the puck, but creating a screen, creating a scramble. I was just the fortunate guy on the right side."

Neal scored unassisted to give the Predators a 2-0 lead at 13:03 on a wrist shot from above the right faceoff circle. He fought through two Blues defensemen and shot through traffic for his second goal.

"I think as the games go on here, they're just going to get tougher and tougher," Neal said. "We were ready for their push and their best game, and I thought we did a good job overall."

Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Rinne, Ellis team up to keep puck out

Ellis made a save on the goal line on a Blues power play late in the second period as the puck was moving toward the goal line. He has had a knack for making those types of plays for the Predators over the past two seasons.

"It's probably because I'm out of position or something," Ellis joked. "No, it's just [goalie Pekka Rinne] battles and we go to battle for him. It just kind of squirted out and just a little team effort, me and [Rinne] and everyone on the ice. [Austin Watson] did a terrific job of blocking the shot to start and a tough bounce to come back at us, but do whatever it takes."

Defenseman Joel Edmundson scored to make it 2-1 at 16:11 on a slap shot from the left circle. His shot went through traffic in front and past Rinne for his third goal.

"For the most part, I thought we had a pretty good game," Blues forward Ryan Reaves said. "We got more shots. I think we've got to get in Rinne's face a little bit more, more bodies to the net. It wasn't a bad game by us. I thought we had some pretty good pushes. Obviously, we've got to bear down on a lot more of our chances, but we take a lot of positives out of this and we go back home and get to work."

Rinne made 32 saves, and Allen had 23.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Edmundson cranks slapper in off iron


Goal of the game

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo dove for a loose puck in the left circle, but Ellis beat him to it and shot low past Allen's head inside the left post to get the Predators on the board.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Ellis cleans up rebound for PPG


Save of the game

Allen made a toe save on a lunging backhand attempt by Neal at 1:32 of the third period to keep the game 0-0.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Allen kicks out pad for great toe save


Unsung performance of the game

Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok beat Blues defenseman Colton Parayko down the ice to a 50-50 puck in the final minute of the third period with Allen pulled for an extra attacker, keeping it in the St. Louis zone and burning time off the clock.


Highlight of the game

Neal broke up an attempted pass from David Perron to Carl Gunnarsson high in the Blues zone, then spun and shot behind Gunnarsson and over Allen's blocker from the top of the right circle.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Neal picks the corner with wrister


They said it

"Got to find a way to put the puck in the back of the net. [Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is] making good saves, he's playing well. Both goalies are playing really well. We've just got to find a way to get a couple behind him. The power play's got to be better." -- Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo


"That's something that it would be too easy to go too far ahead of in our heads, but obviously that's something that you think about. It would be huge for this organization and for us players and this city in general. Everybody who's been here to see these fans and how amazing they are and how they're really hungry for that next round, and so are we. We keep saying this, but it's going to be the biggest game of the season next game." -- Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne on being one win from the conference final


Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Rinne extends for pair of pad stops


Need to know

Blues forward Alexander Steen was in a walking boot following the game. He blocked a Roman Josi shot with his left foot at 10:04 of the first period. … Predators forward Craig Smith missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. He participated in the morning skate after practicing Monday. ... Ellis' seven-game postseason point streak is the longest in the NHL by a defenseman since Chris Pronger of the Blues and Jason Woolley of the Buffalo Sabres each had a goal and eight assists during a seven-game streak in the 1998 playoffs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.


What's next

Game 5 of Western Conference Second Round at Scottrade Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports)


Video: Rinne's 32 saves backstop Preds to 2-1 win in Game 4

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