stay alive by beating Predators
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[May 06, 2017]
ST. LOUIS -- Dmitrij Jaskin
played his first game of the postseason Friday night when right
winger Alexander Steen was scratched with a foot injury.
It's safe to say Jaskin will play his second on Sunday.
Scoring the St. Louis Blues' first goal and looking suspiciously
like the best player on the ice at times, Jaskin sparked his team to
a season-saving 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators at Scottrade
Center to cut their series deficit to 3-2 in the best-of-seven
Nashville can still wrap up their first Western Conference finals
berth with a victory in Game 6 on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena, but
it will have to shrug off its most lackluster postseason effort this
spring. It was outshot 32-22 and had 25 other shots blocked.
The presence of Jaskin, who put a game-high eight shots on net and
tied for the team high with four hits, was a big reason why St.
Louis staved off elimination.
"I was ready since day one," Jaskin said. "It's unbelievable. We had
to do it tonight and we did it. Everybody's happy."
No one was happy eight seconds prior to Jaskin's marker at 5:43 of
the second period. The crowd of 19,168 was booing loudly at the end
of a sequence where Jaden Schwartz appeared to be tripped, but
didn't get the call.
The booing turned to cheers very quickly.
Alex Pietrangelo fired a slapper from the right point that Pekka
Rinne knocked away. But Jaskin got to the rebound and slotted a
wrister from the bottom of the right faceoff circle.
"I think that's what we have to do," Jaskin said. "Get pucks through
from the point and drive the net. It sounds simple, but it's hard."
The formula was replicated 25 seconds into the third period, the
teams locked in a 1-1 tie. Shortly after an interference penalty to
Predators defenseman P.K. Subban ran its course, Colton Parayko
flipped a wrister from the left point.
Rinne made the initial save, but Schwartz was right there for the
rebound. He slipped a point-blank wrister by the big goalie for his
fourth postseason goal that provided the margin of victory.
"We have to do more of it," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "We've got
some big bodies that can drive the net. We're still passing up some
opportunities and we have to make sure to find some of those
However, St. Louis kept Nashville from creating the chances it has
for most of the series, gumming up the neutral zone and preventing
its speed from dictating the action. Of the 21 saves Jake Allen had
to make, few were truly difficult.
[to top of second column]
Blues goalie Jake Allen
(34) defends the net against the Nashville Predators during the
first period in game five of the second round of the 2017 Stanley
Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA
In fact, Allen was tested only once over the last
Filip Forsberg burst down the right side and had a clean look from
the circle, but Allen smothered his wrist shot from 30 feet out. The
Predators didn't get a single shot on net in the final 6:11, not
even after pulling Rinne for a sixth skater with just over two
"We've got to be better, it's as simple as that," Subban said. "We
weren't our best today and that's what happens when you're not at
your best in the playoffs. We've got to play a full 60 minutes of
Preds hockey for us to be successful."
Nashville's only goal came during a 5-on-3 power play as James Neal,
stationed at the right post, converted Subban's diagonal pass at
13:50 of the second period for his third goal of the playoffs.
Rinne did his part to keep the Predators in contention with 30
saves, many of them tough. But it wasn't enough to force the Blues
into a postgame handshake line.
"It wasn't our best game, but we still had a chance to win," Rinne
NOTES: Nashville RW Craig Smith missed his sixth straight game with
an undisclosed injury, even though he skated Friday morning. Smith
hasn't played since leaving Game 3 of his team's first round sweep
of Chicago in overtime. ... Before RW Dmitrij Jaskin's goal in the
second period, St. Louis led in the series for a grand total of 3:51
at the end of Game 2. ... Other Predator scratches were D Anthony
Bitetto, RW PA Parenteau, D Brad Hunt, C Frederick Gaudreau, G Marek
Mazanec, RW Pontus Aberg and C Vernon Fiddler. ... The Blues
scratched D Jordan Schmaltz, C Ivan Barbashev, RW Nail Yakupov, LW
Zach Sanford and G Luke Opilka.
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