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Playoffs: Preds and Blues Season Series Refresh

Predators Won Three of Five Over St. Louis, But Teams Only Played Once With Blues Under Yeo

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

Nashville's regular-season record versus St. Louis: 3-2-0

Scoring Leaders:

Goals: Nashville: Mike Fisher, Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen, James Neal, Mike Ribeiro (2); St. Louis: David Perron, Vladimir Tarasenko (2)

Assists: Nashville: Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro, Colin Wilson (3); St. Louis: Vladimir Tarasenko (3)

Points: Nashville: Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro (5); St. Louis: Vladimir Tarasenko (5)

Video: Jarnkrok's two goals help Predators top Blues, 3-1

November 10, 2016, at Bridgestone Arena: Predators 3, Blues 1

After the Blues grabbed an early 1-0 lead, Calle Jarnkrok bookended the game-winning goal from James Neal with his second and third tallies of the campaign.

First, Colin Wilson threw a backhand feed into the slot where Jarnkrok rifled a shot by former Preds goaltender Carter Hutton at 18:26 of the second. Later, Neal and Jarnkrok both found twine in a 66-second span, with No. 18 netting the winning score by receiving a feed in tight and lifting it high over Hutton.

"It feels good," Captain Mike Fisher, who returned from a three-game absence, said. "It was a big game against a really good team, and we got better as the game went on. It was a big win for us.

"We're starting to play the way we know we can play. We're just playing a lot better. We still feel like there's room to improve in a lot of areas. It's definitely a good sign that we're finding ways to get points, and it's nice to get a couple in a row."

Video: NSH Recap: Ribeiro scores in 3-1 loss to Blues 

November 19, 2016, at Scottrade Center: Blues 3, Predators 1

Nine days after dropping a 3-1 contest in Nashville, the Blues returned the favor in their own barn.

A 1-1 score held until late in regulation when Kyle Brodziak scored with less than 13 minutes remaining in regulation. Four minutes later, Vladimir Tarasenko recorded his first of a team-leading two goals during the season series.

In an interesting note, this contest was the only matchup in the five-game season series that both teams' No. 1 goalies, Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne, started and finished a game (Allen was pulled twice, while backup Juuse Saros started two games for Nashville and Carter Hutton did once for St. Louis).

"I thought we were good for two periods," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "They seemed to grab some momentum off of that power play to open the third period, and shortly after that, we just couldn't seem to corral it. They gained some momentum… to start the third and we just couldn't get going."

"It was a close, tight game," defenseman Roman Josi said. "It's always tight games against St. Louis, not a lot of room out there. It was close, and they played better in the third."

Video: Fisher nets two as Predators down Blues, 6-3

December 13, 2016, at Bridgestone Arena: Predators 6, Blues 3

Perhaps the most dramatic comeback of the Predators 2016-17 season, Nashville rallied from a three-goal deficit by scoring six unanswered goals.

Now on the Preds roster after being claimed on waivers, Brad Hunt's first career goal put St. Louis up 3-0, less than two minutes into the second period. Roughly two minutes later, the comeback began in earnest, however, as James Neal netted his second of the season series with a wrister off the faceoff.

Filip Forsberg cut the deficit again, to 3-2, before the middle frame was out, and in the third, Mike Fisher scored twice, along with goals from Ryan Johansen and Mike Ribeiro.

"I think when it swung back the other way - and it was clearly evident - was James Neal's goal just to get us on the board and get us going in the right direction," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "From that point, I thought our guys did an excellent job of playing the way we want to play."

"It's huge, confidence-wise," forward Colton Sissons said. "We were coming in confident at home with a pretty solid record, but to have a comeback win like that against a team like the St. Louis Blues is huge for us."

Video: Saros earns first shutout in 4-0 win over Blues

December 30, 2016 at Scottrade Center: Predators 4, Blues 0

The division rivals played another pair of closely grouped contests to end 2016, facing each other 17 days after Nashville's 6-3 win in Music City.

It was rookie goaltender Juuse Saros and the goal-of-the-year by Viktor Arvidsson that defined Nashville's shut out of St. Louis on the road. Saros made 25 saves to preserve a three-goal outburst in the second period for the Preds and kept the door shut for the first blank sheet of his career.

Late in the second period, Arvidsson pulled the puck back between his skates, while using speed to beat Jay Bouwmeester and then tucked the puck around Jake Allen. If the 3-0 lead for Nashville wasn't enough to set the tone for the rest of the contest, Arvidsson's goal was.

"I've tried it before in practices and stuff, some games, but I haven't been able to put it in the net," Arvidsson told NHL.com. "So it was nice to see it go in. I just felt I had a little more speed than the [defense]. That was it."

"I think we just played a really smart game," said Saros. "I think it really gives us hope in the future and kind of shows just what kind of team we are, so it's a big thing."

For the second consecutive meeting, the Preds chased Blues netminder Jake Allen.

Video: NSH Recap: Preds playoff bound despite loss to Blues

April 2, 2017 at Scottrade Center: Blues 4, Predators 1

The final regular-season contest between the Preds and Blues likely holds more value than some of the others, due to it being the clubs' only meeting in the last four months and it standing as the only time the Blues faced Nashville under new head coach Mike Yeo.

After Ken Hitchcock was fired on Feb. 1, Yeo ramped up the Blues' emphasis on defense, guiding the club to 22-8-2 record down the stretch and third place in the Central Division.

Juuse Saros was in net for Nashville, who was playing their second game in two days. Ryan Johansen tallied with the Preds on a 5-on-3 power play to even the contest at one prior to the close of the first.

The Blues struck twice in the middle frame to take the lead for good and used the two points gained in the standings to ensure they finished one spot ahead of the Preds in the final season standings.

"I thought we played hard," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "The chances were in our favor, shots in our favor, made a couple mistakes… couple of mistakes or tough bounces and the game doesn't go our way. There's a lot of numbers that do go our way tonight, just not the scoreboard. I thought our guys played hard in the back-to-back situation."

Video: NSH@STL: Arvidsson dances around Blues and scores

Moment of the Series: Dec. 30, 2016

It's already been talked about once, but Viktor Arvidsson's highlight-reel goal has to be the top image from the five-game season series.

Arvidsson's move around a Blues' d-man before depositing the puck into the back of the net helped put the energetic forward on the map - outside of just Nashville. Thirty-one goals for Arvidsson tied him for the Preds lead in the regular season, and two more in the playoffs (so far) has done the very same thing.

Video: STL@NSH: Fisher tallies the go-ahead goal in close

Game of the Series:

A three-goal comeback? Yes, that will do.

Nashville erased a 3-0 advantage for St. Louis when Mike Fisher's first of two on the night found twine at 9:02 of the third for a 4-3 lead. Impressively, the three-goal comeback was not the Preds only example of the season, Nashville also rallied from three down to defeat the Stars, 5-3, on Feb. 12 at Bridgestone Arena.

Wins like that can serve as a rallying cry, and it's possible the Preds comeback win on Dec. 13 even helped affect the outcome of their game against the Blues on Dec. 30.

It's a small sample size, but the Preds have trailed just once so far in this postseason, a two-goal deficit they recovered from in Game Three (a 3-2 win in overtime).

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