Zone defense just doesn't work against this Predators team with their defensemen so offensively inclined. It also doesn't work when the passes go behind the net because both of our defensemen are late to the puck every time. Not sure if man-on-man coverage is the answer but something has to change because that's part of the reason Nashville has been cycling the shit out of the blues and getting good shooting opportunities.
In order to effectively defend the Predators defense, the players have to be aware of which Predators defenseman are on the ice and defend accordingly.
1) If Roman Josi is on - he is going to attack the offensive zone as if he were a C. He does it all the time. Defend him like a 2nd C. And when he does it, the other forwards don't back off leaving someone acting like a defenseman the way Blues forwards do in a similar situation. It creates a matchup issue for the Blues, but it could easily turn into odd-man rushes for the Blues if they catch Josi before he gets behind the Blues net. His forward speed will leave him out of position with no one supporting where he was.
2) If Subban is on - he's going to find space out high. That's where he's most effective. Prior to Game 1, the Blues had been effective at defending this type of play from defenseman. Do not see any reason they can't defend him, outside of the PP which is an exception.
3) Ellis - forwards in particular need to be aware of what Ellis is doing. He has a knack for finding open space from between the circles along the top of them. It's a huge area to be aware of, but if Ellis can skate to find space there, the Blues forward need to skate to take it away.
The other 3 aren't that important in terms of offense. Stop the above 3 d-men and the Blues win. Nashville's forwards simply aren't doing anything that significant in this series outside of winning face-offs. The Wild won face-offs and are now practicing their golf game.
Already said my piece on officiating, but will repeat it. Whatever the Predators are getting away with, the Blues need to do the same. Players don't like getting hit beyond the rules and if an opponent is playing beyond the rules without repercussions, the Blues need to play the same way (use the same thing not being called) to get them upset, hurt, and off their game, as well. Can't rely on a Ryan Reaves or Joel Edmundson fighting someone in one-goal games to "correct" the issue the refs are allowing. The flaw with this plan - it completely ruins the "play with discipline" concept the Blues have been working so hard to manage lately. If you aren't going to benefit from playing with discipline and the other team is benefitting by playing without it, copy your opponent.