Playoff Roundup: Predators top Blues in Game 4 to inch closer to West final

The Predators are on the brink of the Western Conference Final after edging past the Blues in Game 4, while the Rangers put one in the win column at home against the Senators.
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The Nashville Predators are now one win away from reaching the Western Conference Final for the first time in the team's 18-year history. A pair of third-period goals Tuesday night propelled the Preds to a 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues.

The first tally belonged to defenseman Ryan Ellis. Filip Forsberg set things in motion when he fired the puck toward St. Louis goalie Jake Allen from the right face-off circle. The shot didn't find the back of the net. Blues forward Scottie Upshall swiped the puck away, as Allen sprawled out on the ice to try and take away any chance of a potential low-angle shot. With Allen down and a nearly wide-open net exposed, Ellis finished things off for Nashville with a power play goal at 5:09. 

James Neal provided the Preds with the game-winner about eight minutes later. Neal's goal proved to be the difference-maker after St. Louis's Joel Edmundson scored with 3:49 remaining in regulation.

Mayors bet music, BBQ sauce over Blues-Predators semifinal

The Predators have made the playoffs 10 times in their history. They've made the second round four times, including their current series against St. Louis. Now leading St. Louis 3-1, Nashville is a win away from writing a new chapter in its franchise's history.

The series is scheduled to resume with Game 5 Friday night in St. Louis.

Full recap | Box score | Highlights

Here's a look at the other half of Tuesday night's Stanley Cup Playoffs action.

Rangers 4, Senators 1 | OTT leads 2-1

Mired by miscues, the Ottawa Senators fell apart Tuesday night in a 4-1 loss in New York against the Rangers.

The Blueshirts scored twice in the first period to jump out to an early lead. Mats Zuccarello skated down the slot unguarded when Mika Zibanejad fed him the puck. Zuccarello had all the time and space he needed to bury the close-range goal at 5:31. New York's second goal came a little less than eight minutes later after Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson opted to leave his crease to try and make a play on the puck behind the net, but couldn't execute. Michael Grabner collected the loose puck and converted on the wraparound attempt to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.

New York extended its lead at 12:21 in the second period. Jimmy Vesey dished the puck to Derek Stepan in the Rangers' defensive zone moments before two Senators collided near the neutral zone, creating a two-on-one rush. Stepan sent the puck to Rick Nash, who beat Anderson with a wrist shot. The Rangers struck again with less than two minutes remaining in the period, this time capitalizing on Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf falling down near the left face-off circle. With the extra space, J.T. Miller cut through Ottawa's defense and passed the puck off to Oscar Lindberg, who scored on the doorstep.

In need of a win, Rangers find their mojo in Game 3 against the Senators

Jean-Gabriel Pageau gave the Senators their lone goal of the night, with 71 seconds remaining in the second period. His goal is the fifth he's scored in the past two games.

Game 4 is set for Thursday night in New York.

Full Recap | Box score | Highlights

Highlight of the Night

Allen's toe save early in the third period Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators to keep the game tied 0-0 was part skill, part luck and 100-percent clutch.

Three Stars

3. Mats Zuccarello (NYR) Zuccarello recorded New York's first goal Tuesday in the Rangers' 4-1 win against the Ottawa Senators. He also picked up an assist later in the night.

2. Pekka Rinne (NSH) Rinne's 32 saves were key in Nashville's 2-1 win Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues.

1. Ryan Ellis (NSH) Ellis's power play goal in the third period won the game for Nashville, and moved the Predators to within one win of reaching the Western Conference Final for the first time in the team's history.