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Predators defeat Coyotes, move into third in Central

Ryan Ellis scores two goals in Nashville win

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Ryan Ellis scored two goals and Pekka Rinne made 25 saves to help the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Bridgestone Arena on Monday.

The Predators (36-25-11) won for the fourth time in their past five games and moved ahead of the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division by two points. The Blues have played one fewer game.

Monday was the start of a three-game homestand for Nashville.

 

WATCH: All Predators vs. Coyotes highlights

 

"Coming into tonight, I think we all knew it was going to be a difficult game if we didn't show up," Rinne said. "It's not going to be a walkthrough, and it wasn't. Guys played hard. We played solid defensively. We didn't give up much. It was a good game and obviously a good start to the home stretch too."

The Coyotes (26-37-9) were mathematically eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

Ellis gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 16:44 of the second period on a one-timer from the point. Craig Smith made the pass to Ellis, who shot it past Mike Smith (28 saves).

Ellis gave the Predators a 3-0 lead with his second goal of the game at 6:35 of the third period on a one-timer from the point off another pass from Craig Smith. It was Ellis' 14th goal of the season.

Video: ARI@NSH: Ellis cranks home slapper for second of game

"Tonight, I thought, was more of a complete game," Ellis said. "We can always get better, but it was a better game from our bunch. [Rinne] made some great saves, some timely saves. All around, I thought our team was good."

Smith was a healthy scratch for the Predators in a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday and has nine goals after scoring 20 or more in three consecutive seasons.

"[Smith] has been using his legs," Ellis said. "His speed is his biggest asset, and tonight was no different. He was all over the place. Got a breakaway, they had a big save on that, but [Smith] was great tonight. Good to see him get on the board a couple times and hopefully get things rolling in the right direction."

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored to make it 3-1 at 16:05 of the third period on a power play. Dvorak made a cross-ice pass that Ekman-Larsson one-timed past Rinne for his 11th goal.

"I think with both clubs, there wasn't much going on," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Both teams, a pretty tight-checking game. They got a break on their first goal, and then we were chasing from there."

 

Goal of the game

Ellis' first goal was a one-timer from the top of the left circle that found its way through traffic to give the Predators a 2-0 lead.

Video: ARI@NSH: Ellis rips scorching one-timer past Smith

 

Save of the game

Rinne made a pad save against Jamie McGinn on a backhand turnaround shot from below the right circle in the first period.

Video: ARI@NSH: Rinne flexes out a pad to deny McGinn

 

Unsung performance of the game

Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok won 15 of 18 faceoffs and had three shots on goal in 18:25 of ice time.

 

Highlight of the game

Arvidsson intercepted a clearing attempt from Christian Dvorak and got his shot off in one motion to give the Predators a 1-0 lead five minutes into the second period.

Video: ARI@NSH: Arvidsson deflects in a clearing attempt

 

They said it

"We're not generating enough. You always want to generate more, but you've got to capitalize on a few of them too. Last game we had a breakaway, and we didn't capitalize. Tonight we had some 2-on-1s that didn't amount to enough for us. Those opportunities, when you get the opportunities to bear down and put them in the net are a big factor." -- Coyotes coach Dave Tippett

 

"I'm still the same player. I haven't changed anything. I wear my hair the same way. I drive the same route on the way to the rink. I haven't really changed anything. It's been tough. It's been tough, but it's been great. We have some guys in this room playing great right now, scoring goals and picking up the slack a little bit. At the end of the day, it's still fun. It's still hockey. Coming to the rink is a pretty great honor, and I'm pretty lucky and excited to be here doing it." -- Predators forward Craig Smith

 

Need to know

Coyotes captain Shane Doan participated in the morning skate Monday but wore a non-contact jersey and missed his second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. … Arvidsson has nine goals and five assists in his past 14 games.

 

What's next

Coyotes: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, FS-A PLUS, SUN, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the Calgary Flames on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; SNF, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Ellis scores twice to power Preds past Coyotes, 3-1

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