Thursday, April 27, 2017

Nashville Predators 4 at St. Louis Blues 3 (Second Round, Game 1) - April 26, 2017

When the NHL announced the schedule for the second-round of the playoffs, I saw that the Blues would open their series with Nashville while I happened to be in St. Louis for the Blue Jays series. The only problem was that the game was on Wednesday evening, the same time the Jays would be taking on the Cardinals in the second game of their set. There is no way I would miss a Blue Jays road game for an NHL playoff matchup of two teams I don't particularly follow, so I hoped for a rainout on Wednesday and a baseball doubleheader on Thursday. And wouldn't you know it, that is exactly what happened!

The forecast for the St. Louis area was for heavy rain from the afternoon on, and the baseball game was postponed around noon. That gave me plenty of time to secure tickets for the hockey game on the secondary market, which was quite cheap for some reason. I picked up a pair (my buddy Duncan is joining me on this trip) for $67 near the faceoff circle in the end the Predators would shoot twice, with the view below.

We took the LRT there and entered just after gates opened. Each seat had a rally towel on it, but some were reversed to spell LGB. I thought this was a nice way to support the LGBT movement, until I realized it stands for Let's Go Blues.

The rally towels were shaped like Blues jerseys, which was kind of cute.

As Duncan had yet to visit the venue, we took a tour. I mentioned the 1958 NBA Championship trophy won by the St. Louis Hawks in my last post about the arena, and am adding a picture here. Quite a bit different from the current trophy.

Not much else to write about here as I covered it in my previous visit. I will say that the atmosphere was quite good and the Blues fans made a lot of noise, chanting "Let's Go Blues" throughout the game. Which turned out to be a very good one.

The Game

The Predators came in having swept Chicago, while the Blues took out Minnesota in 5, so both teams were well rested. The first period was played at a furious pace, with Nashville getting the only marker when Colin Wilson tipped home a P.K. Subban (below) point shot on the power play.

Early in the second, Nashville's Kevin Fiala was taken into the boards by Robert Bortuzzo and fell awkwardly. It was immediately clear he was seriously injured and he was stretchered off after a long delay as the Blues fans gave a standing ovation. It was announced the next day he had broken his leg and would be out for the playoffs. The game was further delayed because they could not play without an ambulance, so we had to wait until another one had arrived at the arena.

Nashville did not let the injury get to them and took a 2-0 lead on a Subban slapper, before the Blues got one back when Colton Parayko skated in on Pekka Rinne (above) and eventually slid one through the five hold. The Predators got that back quickly when another Subban shot hit goalie Jake Allen and bounced off Filip Forsberg's skate into the net.

Down 3-1 entering the third, the Blues came out strong and potted two goals within three minutes near the midway point of the period, with Vladimir Sobotka's tying marker sending the fans into ecstasy. But it wasn't to last. With just over 5 minutes to go, Vernon Fiddler chipped a puck under a diving Allen and the Predators held on for the 4-3 win. An excellent start to what should be an excellent series.


The doubleheader scheduled for Thursday was a split requiring separate admissions for each game. This was about the only thing that went wrong with the scenario as a single-admission DH is the perfect way to spend an afternoon and still have the evening free.



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