The St. Louis Blues are back on the road for Game 3 and 4 of their Western Conference second-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators and will be looking to continue their success away from home.
The Blues, who tied up the series with a 3-2 win over the Preds on Friday, have won 12 of their last 14 games away from St. Louis. During the playoffs, they are 2-2 at Scottrade Center and 3-0 on the road.
The series resumes at 2 p.m. Sunday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
“Music City has a loud building,” Blues forward Scottie Upshall said. “It’s smaller. It feels like the fans are on top of you the way the seats are. We have to do another great job of being a good road team. Being successful as a group, having a great start, taking their crowd out of it.
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“We’d done a great job in Minnesota. Their building was loud. This time of year, you have to focus on having a great start, being relentless, not focusing on the end of the game but taking things as they come. We’ve done a good job of that so far.”
Road teams are 3-1 in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs after the four teams that advanced —St. Louis, Nashville, Edmonton and Anaheim — went 9-1 in the opening round. Edmonton opened its series with two wins in Anaheim.
“It’s been the trend,” Upshall said. “We had some success through great goaltending and some timely goals in Minnesota. We’re in a new challenge now going to Nashville. Teams on the road just go out and play simple hockey. At this time of year, that’s kind of the recipe for what works. We’re going to keep this thing going. We had a big win at home, which we needed. This series is a best of five now, and we’re excited to get to Nashville.”
Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said Nashville isn’t an easy place to play, and the Blues will have to be ready for the ready for that environment.
What does the St. Louis captain attribute his team’s road success to?
“I think we’re using everybody, we’re keeping it simple and we’re not letting, I guess, the other team’s environment get to us,” Pietrangelo said. “We’re kind of keeping even keel throughout the game, the ups and downs. We did that (Friday) night, and we have to continue to do it.”
A healthy scratch for Games 2 through 4 in the first round series with the Wild, veteran center Jori Lehtera has three points (one goal, two assists) in the two games since returning to the lineup.
Lehtera had two assists in Game 5 of the first-round series, a 4-3 overtime win that earned the Blues a berth in the second round. He scored the game-tying goal at the 7:39 mark of the third period in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Predators that evened up the second-round series.
“I think he’s been terrific,” Yeo said. “I loved the quote that he used, and he said it himself: He’s playing with heart, and I think that shows up in his game. The goal that he scored in the last game is a playoff-type goal and so it’s good on him.”
Upshall loses stick
Upshall on Saturday explained one of the more unique moments in the Blues’ Game 2 win.
The fourth-line forward broke his stick on the Blues’ net in a moment of frustration in the second period after taking a hit by Austin Watson that could have resulted in a penalty being called but didn’t.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Upshall said. “It was a long shift. I thought it could have been a penalty. It was a long shift. I know now probably not to break my stick over my own net in case the puck comes back in our zone, I would have had to do something miraculous with no stick.”
Upshall held on to what was left of his stick as he headed to the bench.
“I was just having a friendly conversation with the ref on the way off the ice,” he said. “As long as you don’t play the puck, I think you’re fine. Again, probably something I won’t do again.”