Photo Credit: John Russell
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Nashville - Tomas Vokoun
On Monday night, the Phoenix Coyotes finished their season series with Nashville by falling to the Predators, 4-1.
The Coyotes came out looking to take the early lead over the Predators and nearly did so just minutes in when a shot by Steven Reinprecht beat Vokoun over the glove hand and rang off the crossbar before falling to ice. Nashville was then able to skate the puck out of their own end to keep Phoenix off the scoreboard.
Following the shot off the goal post by Reinprecht, the Predators established their own offensive attack, but the best scoring opportunity, a shot by Shea Webber, was kept out of the net by goaltender Curtis Joseph, keeping the contest tied at 0-0.
Nashville grabbed the first power play of the game when Joseph tried to clear the puck from his own zone, but instead had it sail over the glass and into the stands, resulting in a delay of game penalty.
Coyotes forward Josh Gratton served the infraction as Phoenix's penalty killing unit took on a power play squad that featured both Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg. However, the Predators high-powered offense was unable to solve Joseph as the Coyotes returned to full strength.
Just 10-seconds after the Phoenix penalty expired, the Coyotes found themselves shorthanded once again when right wing Owen Nolan was sent to the box for hooking. The ensuing penalty kill featured a trio of blocked shots by Phoenix blueliner Nick Boynton en-route to their second consecutive penalty kill of the opening period.
The Predators made their first trip to the box at 16:34 of the first when David Legwand was assessed a minor penalty for hooking. Unfortunately, the Coyotes would be unable to turn the man-advantage into an early lead due to the third straight penalty kill if the period.
Only seconds after the Coyotes power play ended, Nashville's J.P Dumont broke free for a breakaway in the Phoenix zone, where he was hooked from behind by defenseman Ed Jovanovski and he tried to get a shot on goal. The on-ice officials immediately signaled for a penalty shot. On the penalty shot, Dumont came in down the right hand side where he lifted a shot top-shelf, past Joseph for a 1-0 Nashville lead at 18:49 of the period.
The final seconds of the first would slide off the clock without incident and the teams headed to the locker room after one period of play with Nashville holding a one-goal lead.
The Predators extended their lead to 2-0, 39-seconds into the second period when forward Jason Arnott's shot somehow managed to slide behind Joseph and into the goal. J.P. Dumont and Steve Sullivan recorded the assists on Arnott's 21st goal of the season.
At 5:34 of the second, Nashville made it a 3-0 contest when the Coyotes were caught in a line change, resulting in a long pass from Predators' defenseman Kimmo Timonen connecting with Scott Hartnell, who skated in and sent a backhand past Joseph for his 20th goal of the season.
Only 23-seconds later, the score became 4-0 when David Legwand chipped a long pass across the neutral zone to an open Hartnell who capped his second breakaway with a forehand shot the beat Joseph low to the blocker side.
Phoenix continued to find themselves facing the offensive pressure of the Predators as the period continued, including a pair of scoring chances by Peter Forsberg. However, Joseph was able to hold his ground and make the stops to prevent Nashville from increasing their lead.
Coyotes forward Oleg Saprykin nearly put Phoenix on the scoreboard late in the period when he broke in on Nashville netminder Tomas Vokoun and tried to slip the puck into the net, only to be stopped on the doorstep by the stick of Vokoun. However, the Coyotes would gain a power play off Saprykin's shot as Nashville's Shea Webber was called for cross-checking at 16:28 of the period.
Unfortunately, the Phoenix power play would be unable to capitalize on the extra attacker, and the second period would come to an end with the Coyotes trailing the Predators by the score of 4-0.
Less than a minute into the third period, the Coyotes received their fourth power play of the game when Nashville's Martin Erat was escorted to the penalty box to serve a two-minute minor for tripping. Unfortunately, Predators' netminder Tomas Vokoun kept Phoenix off the scoreboard during the penalty to Erat.
The clubs would trade places at 9:19 of the period, when Oleg Saprykin was sent to the box after closing his hand on the puck. While the Coyotes struggled on the man-advantage, they stayed perfect on the penalty kill, holding the Predators scoreless on the man-advantage.
Minutes later, Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski was hit with a shot, sending the Phoenix blueliner to the ice in agony. After staying on the ice for a moment, Jovanovski was escorted off the ice and into the Coyotes locker room to receive further eval uation from the Phoenix medical staff.
With 2:46 to play in the game, the Coyotes made it a 4-1 game when defenseman Keith Ballard was able to deliver a blast at the Nashville net, which was tipped in front of Vokoun by Saprykin and deflected into the net.
In the end, the Coyotes wouldn't be able to climb any closer to the Predators lead as the final minute of play ran off the clock with Phoenix falling to Nashville by the score of 4-1.