Predators Win Game 1 vs. Blues, But Lose Playoff Hero

Jason Lake

Friday, April 28, 2017 1:26 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 28, 2017 1:26 PM UTC

The Nashville Predators got the jump on the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their second-round matchup. It was a costly win, and the Preds might not beat the NHL odds next time.

Two weeks ago, Kevin Fiala was on Cloud Nine. The rookie left winger for the Nashville Predators had just scored the overtime winner in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, putting Nashville up three games to none; they went on to sweep the Hawks and cash in at +145 on the NHL odds board.

The Predators haven’t stopped winning yet. They beat the St. Louis Blues (-115 at home) 4-3 Wednesday night, taking a 1-0 lead in their second-round best-of-seven. But Fiala’s playoff run is already over. He suffered a broken left leg after he was driven into the boards by Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. Fiala also had his femoral artery severed; he’ll probably miss the entire 2017-18 campaign, too.

Use The Schwartz

Nashville is still the -250 favorite to win this series, and our early consensus surveys on Game 2 on Friday (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN) show unanimous support for the Predators as slim +105 road dogs. But are they still the right NHL pick now that Fiala isn’t in the mix? He may not have been their most important player, but losing a second-line winger isn’t going to help Nashville’s cause.

Good news for Preds fans: This matchup is more about the first for the Blues. The goodness that St. Louis brings to the ice is concentrated in the top unit of Vladimir Tarasenko (39 goals, 36 assists), Jaden Schwartz (19 goals, 36 assists) and Paul Stastny (18 goals, 22 assists). They were held to one goal Wednesday.

Ryan Johansen says when Kevin Fiala went down the talk on the bench was "Let's do this for Kev. Let's win this one for him." #StandWithUs

— Lyndsay Rowley (@LyndsayRowley) April 27, 2017

The Predators still find themselves in a tough spot. They were slightly weaker than the Blues during the regular season, posting a +0.16 on the Simple Rating System at Hockey Reference; St. Louis finished at +0.17 SRS. Now the Preds have to do without Fiala (11 goals in 54 games), their dynamic young winger. That gives the Blues the betting value in this series and in Game 2.

Free NHL Pick: Blues -114Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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