The St. Louis Blues stayed alive with a win on home ice Friday night, but are still behind the eight ball in this series. They trail the Nashville Predators 3-2 and will have to win in Nashville on Sunday if they want to reach the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season. Meanwhile, a Nashville victory on Sunday would send the Predators to the conference finals for the first time in the franchise’s history.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 7, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBC. We will have NHL playoff hockey odds at BookMaker.eu for every postseason game.
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Low scoring games have been the standard in this series thus far, just like it was in the regular season. In five regular season tilts, these two teams totaled five goals or less four times and that figure has been matched in the postseason. The last four games in this series have all had five goals or fewer with a total of 10 goals scored in the last three affairs.
Matchup to Watch
Both of these goaltenders have been fabulous in the playoffs so far. Jake Allen was a monster in St. Louis’ series against Minnesota in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, allowing just eight goals in five games. He ended that series with a fabulous .956 save percentage.
Allen hasn’t had quite the same series against Nashville. His defenders have been phenomenal in the series, allowing the Predators 25 shots or less in three of the five games. That’s much better than anyone thought after the Blues dealt Kevin Shattenkirk at the trade deadline.
Pekka Rinne has been incredible this postseason. Rinne allowed just three goals to Chicago in Nashville’s first round sweep of the conference’s No. 1 seed and won the series almost single-handedly.
Rinne has been at his best at home. He has a save percentage of .959 at home this postseason and hasn’t dropped a game yet. A big performance in Game 6 would forever etch his name in the lore of the Music City.
In a low scoring series with two goalies that are on top of their game, every scoring chance is important. That has proven to loom large here with Nashville relying on its power play to muster enough offense to win games.
The Predators have found the back of the net on 4 of their 13 power play chances in this series and those goals were the difference for their wins in Game 1 and Game 4. Conversely, the Blues have only scored once on 14 opportunities with an extra man. That inability to convert is a huge reason why St. Louis is down in this series.
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P.K. Subban has proven to be a great addition to the Predators’ blue line. Subban has this team on the brink of its best postseason performance yet thanks to his puck handling and vision. Although he isn’t the stalwart defenseman that Shea Weber is, his ability to lead counterattacks and create odd-man advantages with his crisp passing has helped a team without great scoring talent continue to succeed. Subban is the most important player, outside of Rinne, on this team when he is on the ice and he will log big minutes in this game.
For St. Louis to get a road win and force a Game 7, Vladimir Tarasenko needs to lead the charge. Tarasenko is this team’s best offensive threat by a wide margin but has been unable to tally a point in any game other than Game 2. If he can’t muster some offense in this one, St. Louis will be on its way out of the playoffs.
NHL Playoff Odds: Predators 3, Blues 1
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