Their feet were on the edge of the cliff, and the Nashville Predators were ready to give them a final shove out of the postseason. Instead, the St. Louis Blues had one of their most complete performances of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a 2-1 Game 5 win at home.
Game 6 is Sunday afternoon, back in Nashville. The Predators lead the series, 3-2.
The Blues fired 32 shots on Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and limited the Predators’ shots to 22. The possession game, so lopsided for the Blues in the playoffs at even strength, was about even, according to Corsica.
The Blues took a 1-0 lead in the second period when the Predators basically forgot about Dmitrij Jaskin in front of Pekka Rinne. Alex Pietrangelo’s shot from the blue line was saved, but Jaskin was there to tuck home the rebound for his first of the postseason.
(Jaskin, by the way, was inserted into the lineup for the injured Alex Steen.)
James Neal tied the game eight minutes and seven seconds later on the power play, with Pietrangelo in the box for holding.
But Jaden Schwartz cashed in another rebound around Rinne off a Colton Parayko shot from the point. Alas, his defense let him down on this one: First on a lazy Roman Josi clear, and then with the rest of the Predators standing around on the play.
It was Schwartz’s fourth of the playoffs, and his first point since Game 2. Schwartz is third Blues player in franchise history to score three game-winning goals in a playoff year.
The Blues kept the pressure on in the third period with a 13-8 shot advantage. The Predators pulled Rinne but couldn’t generate many Grade-A chances against Jake Allen, who made 21 saves in back of a strong defensive effort.
Strong, solid win for the Blues. And a strong, solid reminder to the Predators that the last win is always the hardest in a series.
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