The St. Louis Blues were looking to advance to the Western Conference Final for the second consecutive year for the first time.
The Nashville Predators had other ideas and advanced to their first conference final by winning 3-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Sunday.
Here are 5 reasons the Blues were eliminated:
1. ANEMIC POWER PLAY
The Blues finished the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the worst power play in the NHL (2-for-30, 6.7 percent), including 1-for-15 against the Predators.
They didn't improve from their 1-for-15 showing on the power play against the Minnesota Wild in the first round and never gave themselves any momentum from the man-advantage opportunities.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Yeo on season-ending loss in Game 6
Vladimir Tarasenko scored the Blues' only power-play goal of the second round during a five-minute major in the first period of Game 2.
"You just realize how small the margins can be to the game," defenseman Colton Parayko said. "Just how close the games are, one goal can be the whole game, the whole series. And everything is magnified, whether it is special teams, offense, defense."
2. NO SUCCESS ON THE ROAD
After a 12-1-1 run that started during the regular season and continued through the first round, the Blues were 0-3 at Bridgestone Arena and were outscored 8-3.
"We didn't find a way to win on the road," forward Alexander Steen said after Game 6. "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 and unfortunately today, we came out on the wrong side of it."
3. PLAYING CATCH-UP
The Blues were 5-0 in the playoffs when scoring first before losing Game 6 to the Predators, and 1-4 when they didn't. They allowed the first goal to the Predators in each of the first four games of the series despite playing well at the start. They couldn't get out to a lead and it became mentally deflating to play catch-up and a big reason they fell behind 3-1 in the series.
Through the first four games, St. Louis led for 3:51, trailed for 124:43 and were tied for 111:26.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Stastny buries loose puck in front
"I think early on the first couple games we started out well, every time we got scored on," center Paul Stastny said. "To take a boxing analogy, we took a punch and then we kind of took too long to feel our way out instead of getting right back out and being aggressive again. It wasn't until Game 4 we started trying to dictate play and then know we could weather storms and it was too little."
4. NOT ENOUGH OFFENSE FROM DEFENSE
Blues defensemen had 10 points (two goals, eight assists), while the Predators defensemen had 17 points (six goals, 11 assists).
St. Louis' top pair of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester were held to a combined three points, all assists by Pietrangelo.
"They have good defensemen over there, a good goalie," Parayko said. "We ran into a good team. I think obviously our defense is good as well."
5. ALEXANDER STEEN'S INJURY
Steen broke his left foot in Game 1 against the Wild but played 10 of 11 playoff games and averaged 19:12 of ice time per game.
"There's guys that played through shoulders, hips, knees, feet, heels, ribs, backs," Steen said. "I don't want to take away from that."
Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Steen makes courageous block on slapper
Steen used a walking boot and needed crutches to move around after blocking a shot in Game 4 against Nashville. He didn't practice during the playoffs but only missed Game 5 against the Predators. He finished second on the Blues in playoff scoring with seven points (three goals, four assists), but it was obvious he was less than 100 percent.
"He was a warrior for us," coach Mike Yeo said. "He's been a great leader and a great warrior for us and obviously a lot of credit to him for not just playing tonight. He's been battling through a lot here."