Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Fredrik Sjostrom - (C) Yanic Perreault - (RW) Shane Doan
(D) Keith Ballard - (D) Zbynek Michalek
PREDATORS STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Paul Kariya - (C) David Legwand - (RW) Martin Erat
(D) Dan Hamhuis - (D) Shea Weber
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Nashville - Chris Mason
On Monday night, the Phoenix Coyotes extended their winning streak at home to a season-high five games with a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Early in the first period, it was the Nashville Predators who would generate the first shots on goal as a pair of drives at the Phoenix net were turned aside by goaltender Mikael Tellqvist.
Near the three minute mark, Tellqvist would come up big again as he made a stop on an initial shot from the slot and followed it up with a great stop on the rebound from the top of crease to keep the game scoreless.
The Coyotes would receive the first power play of the game at 3:31 of the period when Nashville was given a bench minor for too-many men on the ice. Phoenix would go to work trying to convert on the man advantage, but there offense was matched by the Predators penalty-killing unit, which kept the pressure away from netminder Chris Mason. Despite controlling the puck inside the offensive zone for much of the man-advantage, the Coyotes would come away from their first power play, still tied at 0-0.
Shortly after the Predators returned to full strength, the Coyotes crashed the Nashville net with force, only to be stopped by a great save in which Mason went down in the splits to cover as much real estate in the crease as possible. While Mason had kept the puck out of the net, his defense had been forced into taking a second penalty, this time it was Scott Nichol was sent to the box for holding-the-stick at 5:48 of the first.
During the ensuing Coyotes power play, the Predators would win a face-off in their own end and fire the puck around the boards in an attempt to clear the zone. Phoenix forward Shane Doan kept the puck in, but was unable to control the puck allowing Nashville's Steve Sullivan to grab the puck and send a lead pass to forward David Legwand. Legwand then raced toward the Coyotes net where he drew defenseman Ed Jovanovski and Tellqvist to the right side of the ice before sending a pass back to the left side where a streaking Sullivan was able to re-direct the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Phoenix took control of the tempo following Sullivan's goal as they continued to send shots to the net, but strong goalkeeping by Mason would keep the Predators on up by a goal through one period of play.
From the drop of the puck in the second period, the Predators went on the attack. When they had the puck, they quickly worked it around the offensive zone to produce an open shot. When they didn't have the puck, the Coyotes were facing one of the toughest fore-checks in hockey as Nashville battled to regain control.
At 6:03 of the second, the Coyotes penalty-killing unit took their first assignment of the night when Dave Scatchard was called for high-sticking. Before the penalty to Scatchard would expire, Phoenix forward Owen Nolan would join him in the box as a result of a slashing call. The Predators went on the attack, with 23-seconds of five-on-three hockey. But even with quick puck movement and extra attackers, Nashville was unable to get the puck behind Tellqvist as the Coyotes returned to full strength without allowing the Predators to add to their lead.
Phoenix had a chance to tie the game at 12:52 of the second when Ladislav Nagy and Georges Laraque broke into the Nashville zone on a two-on-one. A diving effort to cur off the passing lane would force Nagy into firing a wrist shot at the net, which Mason would stop to keep the Predators ahead 1-0.
Nashville would add to their lead at 16:50 of the second when a face-off win by Josef Vasicek allowed Shea Weber to take a shot from the point that was tipped in the face-off circle by Alexander Radulov and sent past Tellqvist for a 2-0 Predators lead.
Less than a minute later, at 17:41 of the second, the Coyotes would cut the lead back to one when a loose puck in front of Mason was poked by the opportunistic Oleg Saprykin and sent into the net to make it a 2-1 game.
Late in the stanza a pile up in the corner of the Coyotes zone saw a livid Jovanovski take exception with Nashville's Jordan Tootoo and Darcy Hordichuck. The end result would be a two-minute power play for the Coyotes, but 1:18 that would need to be used to start the third period as the second period came to an end.
Just 28-seconds into the third period, the Coyotes would even the score at 2-2 when Yanic Perreault sent a pass to Shane Doan, who was stopped on his shot, but allowed Perreault to follow up and slide the rebound through the legs of Mason. The goal was Perreault's team-leading eighth goal of the season, with assists going to Doan and Georges Laraque.
Shortly after tying the game, Phoenix nearly too the lead when a shot by Doan beat Mason on the strong side, only to deflect off the goal post and away from the net.
At 6:24 of the third, the Coyotes went back on the power play when Nashville's Mikko Lehtonen was called for interference. The Predators penalty-killing unit would hold off the Coyotes attack during the penalty to Lehtonen, but shortly after returning to full strength, Nashville would find themselves on the wrong end of the go-ahead goal.
The Coyotes would take their first lead of the night at 8:40 of the third when Nagy sent a perfect pass from the left hand boards, through the slot to an open Patrick Fischer, who easily tipped the puck past the right leg of Mason for a 3-2 lead.
Phoenix forward Owen Nolan nearly gave the Coyotes a two goal lead near the five-minute mark when he fought off a check and lifted the puck over the shoulder of Mason, which hit off the crossbar and fell to the ice where it was covered to prevent a rebound.
Nashville's inability to get in the offensive zone continued to haunt them for the remainder of the period as the only quality scoring chance came off the stick of Mike Zigomanis, who fired a wrist shot at the net as Mason lay sprawled out on his chest. But in a highlight play, Mason reached out with his glove hand and made the save to keep Phoenix's lead to one.
The Predators would fail to even come close to tying the game in the final seconds as the Coyotes held on for a dramatic, come form behind 3-2 win.