Predators defeat Blues, advance to first conference final
Ryan Johansen scores tiebreaking goal in Game 6 for Nashville, which will play Oilers-Ducks winnerby Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent
NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators advanced to the Western Conference Final for the first time in history with a 3-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.
The Predators won the best-of-7 series 4-2.
Nashville improved to 8-2 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 4-0 all-time at home with an opportunity to close out a series. The Predators will play the Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers in the conference final.
"It's a great feeling right now," Predators defenseman Roman Josi, who had five points in the series, said. "It was a tough series. Every game was tight, every game was a battle so we're really happy right now."
[WATCH: All Blues vs. Predators highlights | RELATED: Complete St. Louis vs. Nashville series coverage]
Josi, Ryan Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok scored for the Predators.
Johansen gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 3:15 of the third period on a forehand-to-backhand move. Viktor Arvidsson made a lead pass to Johansen breaking into the zone, and Johansen deked around St. Louis goalie Jake Allen for his second goal.
"What a pass by [Arvidsson] obviously but I don't know if you guys noticed, but Yannick Weber with the sense of mind to push me from behind to give me a little boost got me in a position where I could be in alone with the goalie," Johansen said. "Huge credit to [Weber], obviously the pass by [Arvidsson] and definitely a big goal at the time."
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Jarnkrok wins race, scores on empty net
Paul Stastny gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 2:04 of the first period on a rebound. Vladimir Tarasenko took a shot from the right faceoff circle and Stastny shot the rebound past Pekka Rinne for his second goal of the playoffs.
"It doesn't take anything away from how I feel about this group," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "I feel proud to represent this group. We fell short, but the fight was always there. I mean, we fought until the end. Sure, we could have played better in the first couple of games but never have I not been proud of this group."
Josi scored for the Predators to tie the game at 1-1 35 seconds into second period on a one-timer. Mattias Ekholm cut to the left faceoff circle and made a cross-ice pass that Josi shot past Allen for his fourth goal.
"It was a great pass," Josi said. "I just tried to find that back door, and [Ekholm] made a great play. That was all him."
Jarnkrok scored an empty-net goal to make it 3-1 with 1:00 remaining and Rinne made 23 saves.
"The expectation is a Stanley Cup," Predators defenseman P.K. Subban said. "I think we took a big step today and obviously for this organization and the city, but that's not our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and we've worked really hard to put ourselves in a good position."
Allen made 15 saves.
Goal of the game
Josi's goal came after the Predators had been outshot 9-5 and trailed after first period. The quick response to start the second period set the tempo for the rest of the game.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Josi finishes Ekholm's pinpoint feed
Save of the game
Allen made a glove save on a breakaway attempt by Filip Forsberg to keep the game 2-1 at 6:29 of the third period.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Allen robs Forsberg with quick glove
Unsung performance of the game
Subban blocked a shot by David Perron on a Blues power play midway through the second period to keep the game 1-1 and help Nashville kill of the penalty.
Highlight of the game
Johansen beat Blues defenseman Colton Parayko to the middle of the ice in the offensive zone to receive the pass from Arvidsson and score the game-winning goal.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Johansen nets backhand on the rush
They said it
"We didn't find a way to win on the road. We had to since we lost one of those games at home. It doesn't matter if it was home or on the road, it was tough games, hard-fought battles. Unfortunately today we came out on the wrong side of it." - Blues forward Alexander Steen
"Right now it means everything. We haven't gone further than this before. Obviously it's a great feeling, but there's a lot of work left. After this second round, there's only four teams left. We all know we have what it takes, and everything is in our hands. It's a good feeling. This is why you play this game, and right now I'm pretty happy." - Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne
Need to know
It was the first time in the series that the team scoring first lost. ... Patrik Berglund won 12 of 17 faceoffs. .. Tarasenko finished the series with two goals and one assist. … The Predators have won nine consecutive home playoff games. Nashville has allowed six goals in five games at Bridgestone Arena in the 2017 playoffs. ... Arvidsson's assist was his first point of the series. ... Craig Smith returned to the lineup for the Predators for the first time in the series. He missed six games with a lower-body injury.
Blues: Season over
Predators: Game 1 of Western Conference Final (TBD)
Video: Johansen, Josi lead Preds in Game 6 to win the series