Photo courtesy of predators.nhl.com
Story by Kaitlin Reeves / Contributing Writer
On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators took a commanding 3-1 lead over the St. Louis Blues with a nail-biting 2-1 victory in Game 4 of the second round in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With most of the pressure being on the Blues to win this game, both teams came into this game looking to establish a physical presence on both ends of the ice. For the first two periods, that’s exactly what the fans in Bridgestone Arena got.
While neither team put the puck in the back of the net, they both drew penalties. With multiple calls of tripping, slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct from both sides, both teams made mistakes for a majority of the night which led to an uptick in time spent in the penalty box.
Finally at the 5:09 mark of the third period, defenseman Ryan Ellis broke the scoreless tie with a powerful wrist shot that was assisted by Colin Wilson.
Arguably the most stunning goal of the season came from James Neal for the Preds’ second goal of the game to tie the game, as he spun around two defenders and flipped the puck into the top left corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.
The Blues didn’t back down however, as Joel Edmundson scored with just under four minutes remaining in the game, but it wasn’t enough as the Preds walked away with a 2-1 victory and a towering 3-1 series lead.
3 Stars of the game
3) Pekka Rinne – 32 saves
2) James Neal – 1 goal
1) Ryan Ellis – 1 goal
Ellis ties franchise record
With his clutch goal in the second period, Ellis tied a Predators’ franchise record by recording a point for the seventh consecutive game and could break the record in Game 5.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) May 3, 2017
If Ellis continues his high level of play, the Preds could end this series sooner rather than later.
The teams will return to St. Louis for Game 5 on Friday at 7 p.m. CST. If Nashville wins, they will advance to their first ever Western Conference Finals for a date with the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-Anaheim Ducks series. If they lose, they will return to Nashville for Game 6.
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