For one glorious period, the Phoenix Coyotes' offensive struggles were a thing of the past. Their seven-game losing streak is over as well.
Phoenix (14-15-5) came into the game having scored eight goals during an 0-6-1 slide that has dropped them out of the top eight in the Western Conference. But they sent Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne to the bench less than four minutes into the game while grabbing a 3-0 lead.
"We haven't had much luck around the net," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Pucks seemed to be going in from all over the place tonight. We talked before the game about what we had to do to win -- I asked a couple of guys and not one of them said we're going to score six in the first period and walk away with it.
"That's the way it's gone lately -- it's crazy games. Fortunately, we got on top of this one."
Nashville (14-14-6) saw its three-game winning streak emphatically ended.
"Yeah, it was embarrassing," Rinne said. "Everything they did found a way to the back of the net."
The Coyotes led 3-0 almost before the fans at Bridgestone Arena had settled into their seats. Martin Hanzal scored an unassisted goal at 1:46; Vrbata made it 2-0 at 3:42 on a backhand wraparound; and David Moss hammered in a rebound eight seconds later.
That brought a goaltending change for Nashville, with Chris Mason replacing Rinne. It didn't help -- Matthew Lombardi scored his 100th NHL goal at 7:08, and Keith Yandle connected for a power-play goal on a one-timer at 8:26.
"We're a way better team when we are going forward instead of trying to chase it," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "We obviously have to be good in our own zone and be better defensively, but at the same time we have to be in attacking mindset and that makes us so much more effective."
Nashville finally got on the board at 9:03 when David Legwand beat Jason LaBarbera, and Rich Clune made it 6-2, 30 seconds later. Vrbata scored his second of the night at 15:57 on a bad-angle screen shot from the left boards near the goal line, only to see Gabriel Bourque tip a shot past LaBarbera 32 seconds later to cut the margin to 6-3.
The Coyotes scored six times on 13 shots in the opening period; defenseman Rostislav Klesla assisted on four of the six goals. Nashville had three goals on 17 shots. The six goals ties the most scored in one period in the League this season; the San Jose Sharks scored six times in the first period at the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 22.
"Whatever it takes; if it takes seven goals to win, that's what we need right now," Vrbata said. "It was a crazy first period. That's not our style of play. I'm sure that's not theirs either, but we will take whatever we can get."
The six goals matched Nashville's franchise record for most goals against in one period.
"I've been here a long time, and I haven't seen anything like that," said Barry Trotz, the only coach the Predators have had since entering the NHL in 1998. "They scored three goals on three shots. They had five goals on six shots. Mentally, that's pretty stunning because that doesn't happen very often."
Rinne re-entered the game for the second period and was beaten by Antoine Vermette at 2:44 to make it 7-3.
Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan, a former Predators player, was honored for his 1,000th NHL game.
Material from team media was used in this report
|Back to top|