Jaskin, Schwartz score as Blues beat Predators 2-1

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators won 3-1 to win the series 4-2.

Lady Antebellum performed the National Anthem prior to the start of the Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Playoffs game at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday afternoon (May 7). 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.

The Predators have won nine straight home playoff games since last season and are 8-2 overall in this year's postseason.

Rinne, who has allowed just 14 goals in 10 post-season games, frustrated the Blues with his superb goaltending and Ryan Johansen scored the eventual game victor at 3:15 of the third period giving Nashville a 4-2 series victory on Sunday. With seven points in 10 games, Subban is doing his part on the ice. Calle Jarnkrok provided an empty-net insurance goal with a minute left in the game. Since 1982, he has personally hired just four head coaches (Terry Murray, Jim Schoenfeld, Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette) for two organizations, Washington and Nashville, and fired just two of them, Murray and Trotz. Anaheim was eliminated in the first round of 2013 (Detroit) and 2016 (Nashville), the second round in 2014 (Los Angeles), and the conference finals in 2015 (Chicago) in Game 7s at the Honda Center.

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.

"The expectation is the Stanley Cup", Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban said. "I think we've got to the point where we're over that now". "We have a lot of (defensemen) that can jump up in the play". 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.

Tarasenko's shot from the right circle hit off Rinne, then Stastny who knocked the puck in for the goal. There's a lot of work left.

Jaskin had a career-high eight shots on goal. I feel like we took some steps, certainly in the last two months of the season.

With Klefbom and Sekera gone, Eric Gryba, who hadn't played since Game 1 of the first round, and call-up Griffin Reinhart were dressed.

I don't know how this will all end, but it's been pretty awesome so far. Three of the four games in this series have been decided by one goal.

Nashville had Grammy winners Lady Antebellum sing the national anthem, and forward Kevin Fiala, who broke his left leg in Game 1, wave the towel to rev up the fans who were ready for the puck to drop.

Johansen went full highlight reel on his partial breakaway that put the Predators ahead for good. The Blues are averaging 2.8 goals per game and are scoring on 21.3 percent of their power play opportunities.

St. Louis could not play their game penalties as well as being out hustled on the boards was key to their loss.

St. Louis is going to have to win a close one. Within the Nashville structure, he has played better and better this season, and now gets more minutes than any player other than standout rearguard Roman Josi. He has locked Filip Forsberg, a significant scoring threat, to a long-term contract, and has built a strong nucleus of good young players on the roster.

Schwartz scored 25 seconds into the third, knocking in a rebound from right in front for a 2-1 St. Louis lead. The Predators lead the series 3-2.

If you read the Game Time paper on Friday I'm sure you gathered that, while many of us believed the Blues would win game 5, they didn't stand much of a chance in the series. Last week we talked about mechanics, the building blocks of a game, and introduced our art style.

With Nashville waiting for either Anaheim and Edmonton in the Western Conference finals, the deal for Johansen is looking like one of general manager David Poile's more masterful swaps.

I don't know if Predators fans can take it up another notch, but if there was a fan base that's willing to say, "hey, hold my beer, and watch this" it's Nashville.

Stay on topic - This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand.

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