JOE BIDDLE: Preds pound Blues

There were strong weather warnings dancing all around Middle Tennessee Sunday afternoon.

Tornado watches and thunderstorm warnings for Davidson and other nearby counties.

But the real bad weather was inside Bridgestone Arena Sunday afternoon. The Predators were torturing the St. Louis Blues with some thunder and lightning.

They threw all four lines at the Blues. The Preds sent a sturdy defensive corps into the fray, just to show the hockey world they knew something about offensive strokes.

The Predators beat the Blues, 3-1. In the process they now have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series in the Western Conference Stanley Cup playoffs.

Bridgestone was rocking and rolling. Through the first series against Chicago and three games against Saint Looie, Predators defensemen have produced seven goals and 14 assists. They were wheeling and dealing.

Defenseman Ryan Ellis got the Predators started with the first goal of the game. He has been on fire in the playoffs. He now has eight playoff points through seven games.

Preds Coach Peter Laviolette will tell you Ellis is one of the Predators top leaders, on the ice and in the locker room. Defenseman P.K. Subban is playing Stanley Cup hockey. He is a fly in the Blues ointment.

The Predators went up 2-0, despite being only 0-for-4 on power plays. It had to have St. Louis singing the Blues. The Blues got their only goal in the second period and the Predators tacked on a third goal courtesy of Roman Josi, just for insurance. It wasn't needed.

As usual goalie Pekka Rinne was golden. He had 22 saves as the Blues smothered the Preds net much of the game. They had ample chances, but cashed in only once.

You think the Predators are balanced? They had the nerves of the Wallendas walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls.

All four lines contributed. Up to this point, through seven playoff games, six of them wins, the Preds have had 13 different players light the lamp.

It marked the first time in franchise history that the Predators have held a lead in the second series. They return to Bridgestone Arena Tuesday night for an 8:30 p.m. game. Thanks for the prime time NHL. Not. You might not be aware some people in Nashville have regular jobs that insist they get out of bed when it is still dark outside. And we do have school kids who would like to stay up to midnight, but hopefully be denied by parents.

But the Predators? They will play roller hockey at midnight on the Nissan Stadium parking lot if you want and come back at 6 a.m. to play again.

They were once known as the expansion pro team in Tune Town. It took them longer to be recognized by other than rabid hockey fans. No longer. They have jumped up in the conversation with the NFL Draft this week and dare I say, the Titans.

They have earned their keep.

Joe Biddle is a sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at

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