After splitting the first two games of Round Two in St. Louis, the Nashville Predators return home to host the Blues in Games Three and Four of the series, beginning this afternoon at Bridgestone Arena with a 2 p.m. CT start in Game Three.
The Preds are coming off their first loss of the 2017 postseason, a 3-2 decision in Game Two, after topping the Blues by a 4-3 final in Game One. Ryan Ellis tallied a goal and an assist for the Preds in Game Two, while Vladimir Tarasenko played the role of hero for St. Louis, scoring twice, including the game-winner late in period three.
"We're disappointed after Game Two, but it's 1-1," defenseman Roman Josi said Saturday. "It's a tight series, and I think we're pretty confident in the room. We still think we can play better than what we did in first two games and hopefully we can bring that [today]."
Ellis, who is on a five-game point streak, and Ryan Johansen are tied for the Nashville scoring lead in these playoffs with seven points apiece. Filip Forsberg leads the team with three goals, while Ellis, Josi, Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson have two goals each. Pekka Rinne is 5-1 thus far with a .949 save percentage.
Jaden Schwartz leads the Blues with seven points, and along with Tarasenko, shares the team lead in goals with three. Alexander Steen, Vladimir Sobotka, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko have each scored twice in the postseason. Jake Allen is now 5-2 in the playoffs with a .941 save percentage.
Video: Preds look to retake series lead with two home games
As the Predators look to take a 2-1 series lead and keep their six-game home playoff winning streak alive, here are three things to watch for:
Video: Fisher, Ellis, Josi and Johansen preview Game Three
Six goals in two games and a 1-1 series split through two games doesn't seem all that bad, but the Predators say they haven't played their best hockey yet. It's come in spurts, says Ryan Johansen, and a topic of conversation this afternoon will be for the Preds to get their game going at a high level, and then keep it there for a majority of the afternoon.
"We feel like we can play better in certain areas, and for 60 minutes," Captain Mike Fisher said. "We know there's another gear for us, and we have to find it here at home."
In The Flow:
Video: Laviolette previews the series shifting to Nashville
The Predators got into penalty trouble in Game Two, having to go on the kill five times, including a five-minute major. Nashville's penalty kill was solid on the night, but Head Coach Peter Laviolette talked about the flow of the game being an issue. With the penalty killers being on the ice more than they'd like, it disrupts the ability to roll through all four lines on a consistent basis, something Laviolette is hoping to do regularly this afternoon.
"At 5-on-5 I thought we were much better," Laviolette said. "Just watching the game and the way it played out, I thought 5-on-5 we did a better job of generating offense. Defensively, it was fairly tight. We hate the result of the game, but I thought once we got past the point where we were in the penalty box, I thought that our guys responded pretty well to the game and in the third period."
Video: Preds need to capitalize on chances in Game Three
For the first time in these playoffs, the Predators found themselves on the losing side of the ledger. Nashville will place an emphasis on a strong bounce back this afternoon, especially in front of a home crowd that has seen six consecutive playoff wins at Bridgestone Arena.
"It's going to be a tough series, and we're playing a great hockey team," Fisher said. "We just need to respond well here. We're at home, which is a good thing, and we're looking forward to [Game Three]."
When You Go:
Game Three in Smashville is presented by Nissan and comes with a 2 p.m. CT start time at Bridgestone Arena. A Plaza Party presented by Lee Company gets underway on the Arena plaza at 11 a.m., including the return of the Smash Car. Doors open at noon and all fans will receive a special postseason t-shirt presented by The Nash Collection, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Jack Daniels, Nissan and Kroger, as well as a voice-activated, light-up bracelets.
Take It In:
Today's game can be seen nationally on NBC or heard on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.