After taking a 1-0 series lead for the second time in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Nashville Predators will try for their sixth consecutive win tonight when they take on the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.
Game One was an instant classic with the Preds ultimately prevailing 4-3, thanks to Vernon Fiddler's game-winning goal with just over five minutes to play in regulation. P.K. Subban recorded a goal and two assists and Colin Wilson added a goal in his first game of the 2017 postseason, while Pekka Rinne collected his fifth consecutive win.
It wasn't all good news for Nashville in Game One, however, as they lost forward Kevin Fiala to a broken femur after he crashed into the boards. As they've already done in the playoffs, the Preds will rely on their depth once more as the series continues.
"Kev was playing so well for us," defenseman Ryan Ellis said of Fiala. "He became a dominant player on the ice, and it's a big loss for our team. It hurts right now, hurts for Kev, too, but we have to move forward. He's going to be missed for sure, but we have to find a way to get past it and move forward."
Center Ryan Johansen continues to lead the Preds in points with seven in the playoffs, followed by Filip Forsberg with six. Both Subban and Ellis have one goal and five points apiece, while Forsberg leads the team with three goals. Josi, Viktor Arvidsson and Colton Sissons have two goals each. Rinne is 5-0 with a 1.14 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage in the postseason.
Jaden Schwartz, who scored in Game One, leads the Blues with three goals and six points, followed by Alexander Steen, Vladimir Sobotka and Joel Edmundson, who all have two goals and four points. Jake Allen is 4-2 in these playoffs with a .944 save percentage.
Video: Preds can take first-ever 2-0 series lead in Round 2
As the Predators look to take a 2-0 series lead on the road once more, here are three things to watch for:
Fiala Out, Wilson In:
No one ever wants to see what happened to Kevin Fiala in Game One take place, but the Preds must now continue on without one of their most dynamic players. And while he wasn't meant to replace Fiala in the lineup, Colin Wilson may be just the man to help fill the void.
Wilson returned in Game One after missing the First Round due to injury and made an immediate impact when he scored the first of four Nashville goals. Wilson is known for stepping it up in the springtime, and the Preds will need his contributions even more without the speedy and skillful Fiala.
"He's awesome in the playoffs," Ellis said of Wilson. "He's been good for us all year, so he's adapted to his role on the team, and he's one of the guys we lean heavily on. Now losing Kev, we're going to rely on him even more than ever."
Video: Preds know they need to improve 5-on-5 play for win
Game One was just about everything the Preds expected it would be - fast, physical and a bit of the unexpected. P.K. Subban called it one of the toughest games of his career, and he doesn't expect it to get any easier. Nashville will have to match the level of play shown by their opponent for a majority of the night if they're to have success once more.
"We expected a great team, and that's what we got," Subban said. "It was a great battle last night, and it's going to be that way, not just every game, but every shift of the series. There's a mindset that goes with that, a preparation that goes with that and they're going to bring that out in you, whether you want it or not. We have to be ready for the biggest game of the season tomorrow."
Video: Neal, Watson and Arvidsson preview Game 2
Work Hard, Play Hard:
There will always be goals for the highlight reels, but they're not always the prettiest at this time of the year. Just see Vernon Fiddler's game-winner in Game One. Or Filip Forsberg's tally, for that matter. Sometimes they just find a way, and the Preds know they have to go to those dirty areas and take whatever is given to them.
"I think our success comes with us just putting in the work," Subban said. "Our coach says it all the time. We just have to focus on the work and nothing else. From top to bottom, we have a team where every guy around the room, whether they're elite, skilled players or fourth-line grinders, everybody's putting in the work."
Preds Playoff Info:
For information on Watch Parties, Preds Approved viewing locations and everything else you need to know about the Predators in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, visit www.nashvillepredators.com/playoffs.
Take It In:
Tonight's game in St. Louis comes with a 7 p.m. CT start time and can be seen on NBCSN or heard on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.