NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Cody McLeod scored the game-winner early in the second period, and the Nashville Predators beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Sunday to grab a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
Defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi also scored, and Colton Sissons added two assists. The Predators outshot St. Louis 34-23, and they now have won seven straight playoff games on home ice, including all three this postseason.
Alexander Steen scored for the Blues, who lost for the first time on the road this postseason.
Blues goalie Jake Allen kept St. Louis in this game before being pulled by coach Mike Yeo for the extra attacker with more than 4 minutes remaining and took his timeout with 1:25 left.
Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne finished with 22 saves, including a flurry of stops to preserve the win.
Game 3 is Tuesday night.
With a national TV audience, Nashville had plenty of stars on hand for the matinee ranging from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to country star Luke Bryan and Tennessee Titans Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray. Country group Little Big Town became the latest to sing the national anthem, and Lee Greenwood sang during the second intermission.
Something had to give in this game.
St. Louis came in undefeated on the road this postseason after winning three in Minnesota in the first round, while the Predators won both games in Nashville while sweeping Chicago. The Blues also had won nine of their last 10 road games overall.
The Predators never got the man advantage in losing Game 2 in St. Louis, and they got their first nearly midway through the first period.
Just after the power play ended, Ellis gave Nashville a 1-0 lead with his slap shot from near the blue line at 10:34 off assists from Filip Forsberg and P.K. Subban. Ellis now has a point in six straight playoff games, extending his franchise record for a defenseman and also leading the Predators.
McLeod gave Nashville a 2-0 lead with his first goal of the postseason just 2:29 into the second period with a backhander past Allen. That goal came shortly after the Blues killed their third penalty of the game.
St. Louis, which took eight of the first 12 shots, went without a shot through nearly 13 minutes of the second period without an attempt on Rinne. Then Steen tipped in a shot by Alex Pietrangelo at 12:59 to pull St. Louis within 2-1.
The Blues had a chance to tie it up late in the second with a 2-on-1, but Rinne stopped the shot from David Perron from the slot. Nashville outshot St. Louis 18-4 in the period.
Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo had a shot go off the post within the first five minutes of the third. Josi scored on a slap shot with 5:49 left to prompt yet another standing ovation by the standing-room only crowd.
NOTES: McLeod became the 13th different Nashville player to score this postseason. ... Nashville's defensemen now have accounted for 20 points in this postseason with seven goals and 13 assists. ... The local Triple-A baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, put the game on its guitar-shaped scoreboard during a rain delay.
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