Nashville Predators favored to win Stanley Cup

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Nashville Predators favored to win Stanley Cup

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) moves past Nashville Predators right wing James Neal (18) during the third period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series Friday, May 5, 2017, in St. Louis. With the goalie off again, Cam Fowler scored on Anaheim's next shot 35 second later, making it a one-goal game with 2:45 to play.

Let's be real, when you're one step from reaching the Stanley Cup final you'd like to find the path of least resistance to the necessary four victories. If you ask me, Salomaki should be out there, and the way Harry Z has been playing he deserves to be out there too.

The Blues were eliminated from the Western Conference Second Round by the Nashville Predators in six games.

The Predators and Blues were tied through the first 40 minutes for a third straight game and fourth overall in this series when Johansen skated up the slot for a pass from Viktor Arvidsson and beat Allen with a backhand. The 22-foot shot appeared to hit off the right shoulder of goalie Jake Allen before caroming into the net. Armstrong said they will protect seven forwards, three defenseman and one goalie.

They were finally able to use their size advantage to force the puck down low and keep traffic away from the front of the net, further frustrating the Predators top line who after combining for 15 points in the first round have been held to only 3 in the second.

Johansen also outplayed St. Louis center Paul Stastny in the second round and now is winning 55.7 percent of his faceoffs. Alexander Steen, who hasn't been practicing because of an undisclosed injury, will likely take Jaskin's place in the lineup on Friday night.

Was it ideal? No.

So, a milestone has been crossed... history made... with a lot more to come... eight down... eight to go.

The Blues offense has been stuck in neutral for most of the past three games.

The Blues are 13-3 in their last 16 Sunday games, 5-2 in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest and 12-4 in their last 16 road games.

The seventh and deciding game is in Anaheim on Wednesday. "When he plays the way that he does and he gets to the hard areas, he protects the puck, he wins battles offensively, that opens up time and space for other people and creates situations and opportunities for himself as well". This was a good thing for the Predators, as Rinne has the sixth-worst high-danger save percentage of all goaltenders (40 or more games worth of ice time) since 2013-14.

So how do the Blues go about doing that? 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. This is why you play this game. But guys such as Patrik Berglund and David Perron, two of the biggest surprises of the regular season, have been two of the biggest disappointments in the postseason.

Well, of the 86 goaltenders that played in the National Hockey League during the regular season, Pekka Rinne faced the fifth-most low-danger and the fifth-most medium-danger shots against, a stat not surprising considering he is a starting goaltender. "They scored first, we were chasing the game at that point as well". Stay out of the FREAKING BOX!

Former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan also was in the stands for his second game this series wearing a Predators' sweater. Just focus on today. So by all means, win one game at a time.

Unfortunately for the Blues, not enough of them did what they do best. It ain't over until it's over.

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