The better team is leading this second round series between the Blues and Predators. Unfortunately, that team isn’t the Blues who now find themselves in a 2-1 hole after being bested in pretty impressive fashion on the road in Nashville in Game 3.
Game 3 saw the Blues fall behind by two before clawing back on a beautiful deflection by Alexander Steen. From there, the game could have swung in either direction. With the Blues finding more and more chances, Joel Edmundson made a costly mistake (whiffed on a pass) and turned the puck over. The Predators pounced, and kept the puck in the offensive zone for what felt like an eternity. The end result of all of that prolonged time in the zone was their third goal.
That goal wasn’t the official winner, but it might as well have been. It capped off a game in which the Blues were defeated in most areas of the ice.
Again, the play in the faceoff circle was miserable. The Blues won 38% of their draws. Patrik Berglund won just two of the 13 faceoffs he took (15%). It’s tough to control possession when you’re repeatedly trying to win the puck back off a draw.
Again, the Blues weren’t disciplined when they needed to be. They picked up an extremely fortunate power play in the opening period when Scottie Upshall jumped to avoid a hit and a trip was called, but from there the officials picked up on several Blues infractions which could have been avoided. Berglund’s high stick is a great example of a play which has to be avoided.
This may be the most telling stat of the day:
You can’t do that in the playoffs. Well, you can, but you can’t expect to keep getting away with it. Similar stats came out of a few of the games against the Minnesota Wild, but the Blues were fortunate enough to score timely goals to squeak out some wins. Expecting the same against the Predators is a strategy which will only earn a playoff exit.