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Round 2

Vernon Fiddler steps up for Predators against Blues

Forward scores game-winning goal in series opener

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

Fiddler's go-ahead goal

NSH@STL, Gm1: Fiddler chips in late go-ahead goal

R2, Gm1: Vernon Fiddler gets to Austin Watson's lead pass and chips the puck five-hole, giving the Predators a 4-3 lead late in the 3rd period

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ST. LOUIS -- Nashville Predators forward Vernon Fiddler had four goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs over 11 years prior to Wednesday, and his fifth was the game-winner in a 4-3 victory against the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at Scottrade Center.

Fiddler, playing his first game of this postseason, broke a 3-3 tie with 5:05 remaining when he chipped the puck past Blues goaltender Jake Allen.

The Predators are 5-0 in the playoffs and have a 1-0 series lead in the second round for the first time in their history. Game 2 will be played at Scottrade Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"It was just a quick transition," said Fiddler, who scored two goals in 59 regular-season games with the Predators and New Jersey Devils. "I saw [Austin] Watson kind of get it in his feet outside and just tried to get to the net. He made a little flip pass and I just got a piece of it and just chipped it over the goalie. Lucky one."

Fiddler and linemate Cody McLeod were healthy scratches for the four games of Nashville's sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference First Round. Fiddler hadn't played since April 2, McLeod since April 8.

"I thought Fiddler was good," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "For those guys to jump into this series like that after not playing in the first series, I thought they were noticeable, and [Fiddler's] goal was a big goal.

"At that point, you're almost thinking it might get to overtime and just continue to do the right things. We knew we had to get back to work offensively. They had stolen some energy, the building got going when they scored their second goal, and you're hoping you can do the right things and get back on the offensive track, because we had lost it for moment."

Fiddler scored one playoff goal for the Predators in 2007, one with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010, and two with the Dallas Stars (2014, 2016). He has five goals in 43 NHL playoff games.

"He's a veteran guy so he's been in these situations before, so he stepped up and got us a big goal," Predators defenseman P.K. Subban said.

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