The Nashville Predators will look to take a 3-1 series lead tonight when they host the St. Louis Blues in Game Four of their Round Two series at Bridgestone Arena.
After splitting the first two contests in St. Louis in Games One and Two, the Preds returned home on Sunday afternoon to beat the Blues 3-1 in Game Three. Ryan Ellis, Cody McLeod and Roman Josi all found the back of the net and Pekka Rinne recorded his sixth win of the postseason. Nashville has now won seven consecutive home games at Bridgestone Arena dating back to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It's a great atmosphere [at Bridgestone Arena], but we really just need to keep focused on the work we're doing on a daily basis," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "We understand what [tonight] has in store for us, and we know it's not going to be easy. The guys will have to be ready."
With points in six consecutive games, it's Ellis who now leads the Preds in points with eight, including three goals. He's followed by Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen who have seven points each, and then P.K. Subban and Colton Sissons with six apiece. Ellis, Forsberg and Josi are tied for the team lead in goals with three. Pekka Rinne has gone 6-1 in these playoffs with a .950 save percentage.
Jaden Schwartz continues to lead the Blues with seven points, followed by Alexander Steen with six. Schwartz, Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko have each scored on three occasions in the playoffs. Jake Allen is now 5-3 for the Blues with a .938 save percentage.
Video: Preds can use home ice advantage for another win
As the Preds look to take a commanding lead in the series, here are three things to watch for:
Defense into Offense:
The Preds received two more goals from the blue line in Game Three, upping the total to seven goals by Nashville defensemen in these playoffs. That number leads the League and matches a Preds franchise record for most goals by defensemen in a single postseason, set in 2016. That group did so in 14 games - the current Preds have done it through seven.
"We have all the quick, puck-moving guys on our backend, and we like to join the rush and be up there," defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "We're just trying to do that, and we've been trying to do it all year. But right now, it's been pretty good for us."
Video: Rinne, Zolnierczyk and Weber preview Game 4
Rewriting the Records:
Leading the way from the blue line in these playoffs has been Ryan Ellis. Not only does he lead the team with eight points, but with points in six straight games, Ellis has extended the mark for the longest streak by a defenseman in postseason franchise history. Ellis has a chance to tie another mark tonight in Game Four, as he's just one game away from matching Colin Wilson's record of points in seven-straight playoff games, set last season.
Video: Laviolette speaks on strong starts prior to Game 4
Nothing is over until someone wins four games, but the difference between a 3-1 series lead and a 2-2 tie is worth mentioning. The Predators will find themselves with one of those two options by the end of the night, and with Game Five already set for Friday night in St. Louis, Nashville would prefer the chance to end it there.
"I think everyone knows it's a huge game [tonight]," Ekholm said. "Going up 3-1 would be a great thing for us, and that's what we'll look to do. Obviously, it's a lot better than 2-2, but in saying that, it's a seven-game series. It doesn't matter if we take it in five, six or seven, it's just a matter of getting it done."
Video: Nashville seeks their eighth win in a row on home ice
When You Go:
Tonight's Game Four at Bridgestone Arena comes with an 8:30 p.m. CT start and is presented by the Tennessee Lottery. A Plaza Party presented by Lee Company gets underway at 5:30 p.m. with arena doors opening at 6:30 p.m. All fans in attendance will receive a Preds Playoff Rally Towel, presented by Tennessee Lottery and Fox 17.
For more information on tonight's game and the surrounding festivities, visit the Preds Playoff Hub.
Take It In:
Tonight's game can be seen nationally on NBCSN or heard on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.