The Nashville Predators are earning crucial points in the Western Conference playoff chase with some inspiring play and a little luck. The Phoenix Coyotes haven't been so fortunate.
Nashville looks to continue its solid play this month when it hosts the slumping Coyotes on Thursday night.
The Predators (29-28-4) won a season-high four straight to start the month and are 8-4-1 in February after going 4-8-0 last month. They've earned a point in their last three games (2-0-1) to inch closer to a playoff spot in the West, where fifth place and 10th place are separated by three points.
Nashville is coming off impressive back-to-back wins. On Saturday night in St. Louis, Shea Weber's shot somehow trickled into the net 2:36 into overtime to give the Predators a 1-0 victory, and they rallied from a 3-1 deficit Tuesday night to beat Chicago 5-3 at home.
David Legwand and J.P. Dumont scored in the first 5:11 of the third period to tie Tuesday's game before Joel Ward's goal gave Nashville a 4-3 lead at the 14:57 mark. Weber added his 16th of the season a few minutes later, giving him goals in consecutive games after going 14 straight without one.
"We stuck with our game plan and kept working at it," captain Jason Arnott said. "Everyone contributed, even the guys who didn't score. We just went out and played together and worked hard to get out of it."
The five goals were the most for the Predators since they also scored five Jan. 28 at Vancouver. Nashville totaled four goals in its previous four games prior to Tuesday.
"Five goals in a game is kind of unusual for us," Legwand said. "It is a change of pace. It would be nice to score five goals every game, but that is very unlikely that is going to happen."
The Coyotes (27-29-5) had a strong offensive showing in the opener of their three-game road trip, beating Los Angeles 6-3 on Saturday. While they didn't match that effort Tuesday against the Blues, the talk after the game was more about their defensive play.
Ilya Bryzgalov allowed a routine dump-in to bounce past him for the tying goal at 13:42 of the second period, and Phoenix gave up a short-handed score less than two minutes later to lose 2-1.
"To get beat the way we did, a flukey goal and our power play lets up a short-handed goal, that's a tough loss to swallow," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "I thought we did a lot of really good, positive things.
"The big negative was the power play, we didn't score and we allowed a goal."
Captain Shane Doan scored his 250th goal for Phoenix, which fell to 3-10-0 in its last 13.
"We've got to find ways to bury the puck when we get great chances and unbelievable opportunities," Doan said. "You can only go so long before something's going to happen and unfortunately it did."
Phoenix is 1-6-2 with one tie in its last 10 visits to Nashville. The Coyotes went 5-2-1 with a tie in their first nine road games against the Predators.