Predators eliminate Blues, advance to 1st conference final


The roster shake-up continued into the season with the firing of coach Ken Hitchcock on February 1 and the trade of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk not long after.

Throughout the series, the Predators have come up with the timely plays and goals when they had to have them.

The St. Louis Blues could have been preparing for Game 7 of a second-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Johansen scored 3:15 into the third, and the Predators advanced to the conference finals in their fourth try by taking their series against the Blues in six games. Milan Lucic took particular issue with the actions of Anaheim's Ryan Kesler on Rickard's game-tying goal, telling TSN: "I don't even know what goalie interference is anymore".

- Peter Laviolette made some personal history yesterday, he became the first United States born head coach to take three different teams to a conference final.

The Western Conference final could be set by the time we close the book on the weekend. "We were going to transition whether we won the (Chicago) series, or if we had won the Stanley Cup".

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It's not like the Predators stormed out of the gate in October, but despite any regular season struggles encountered along the way, they have really found their stride, especially through two rounds of the playoffs. On June 29, he traded team captain Shea Weber, the rock of the Nashville franchise, to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for the cheaper, younger and flashier P.K. Subban. I think we're in a good spot. Our ultimate goal is to win a Stanley Cup. "It could be a bounce here, it could be a bounce there, and if we put ourselves in a position to be a little bit better with the group that we have, then we're optimistic about our chances moving forward". "There's still a lot of hockey left to be played".

And both Ryan Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok scored in the third despite the Predators finishing with just 18 shots on goal. This is their first trip to the conference finals after falling short in the second round in their first three attempts, including a year ago to San Jose after pushing the Sharks to seven games.

The Good - Pekka Rinne seems to have a permanent place in the good category, proving all of his doubters wrong. "We haven't gotten further than this before. It's a great feeling, but there's a lot of work left".

Mark Letestu had a four-point night, recording two goals and two assists. "They took their game to another level, and we didn't match it".

"As a kid who never really played hockey well I ended up refereeing commercial leagues my first two years of university, breaking up fights for $5 a game". The Predators want to keep that streak intact. Grammy winners Lady Antebellum sang the national anthem, the latest country stars to handle the honor. The 22-foot shot appeared to hit off the right shoulder of goalie Jake Allen before caroming into the net. February 2, 2016 was the last victory in the Music City and it was a nail bitter at 1-0.

Roman Josi - He responded with a huge goal when the Preds were facing adversity.

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"It's gotta be better", Pietrangelo said of the power play, acknowledging that Steen's absence made things more hard Friday.

St. Louis nearly tied it with the extra skater with just over a minute remaining, but Paul Stastny couldn't get his stick on a loose puck at the left post with an empty net in front of him. They wouldn't score again as Rinne finished with 23 saves.

Expectations for the Nashville Predators have been growing for some time.

The top line trio of Johansen, Arvidson and Filip Forsberg combined for 13 points in the four games against the Blackhawks. The Predators lead the series 3-2.

Ottawa scored twice more in the second period, with goals from Mike Hoffman and Tom Pyatt. With McDavid, Draisaitl and others coming into their own, the Oilers look like a team on the rise that figures this is the first of many such postseason runs.

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That's really important as they will go straight into the Champions League groups if that does turn out that they finish third. Manager Tony Pulis said: "The lads have got two days off now, they need that to clear their minds".