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Coyotes win 1st of season, downing Nashville 5-2 @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - David Schlemko, Ray Whitney and Lauri Korpikoski each scored in the first period, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat Nashville 5-2 Thursday night, ruining the Predators' big party for their home opener.

Shane Doan had an empty-netter and an assist, and Mikkel Boedker had a goal as the Coyotes capped their three-game road trip to open the season with their first victory.

Ryan Suter and Colin Wilson scored a goal apiece for Nashville, which started the night walking down a gold carpet into the arena as part of the festivities.

But an emotional video montage in memory of Wade Belak, the former NHL enforcer found dead in Toronto in August, seemed to sap the Predators despite a sellout crowd eager to cheer a team coming off its first run to the Western Conference semifinals.

The Predators had been 10-2-1-1 against Phoenix in Nashville since the start of the 2003-04 season and 16-9-1-2 overall. The teams split the series last season with both Coyotes' wins coming by a single goal each time.

Phoenix had more than enough goals after the first period of this game after outshooting Nashville 16-7 in the first 20 minutes. Schlemko scored his first this season from the left circle off a rebound, sending the puck under Pekka Rinne as the goalie sprawled to his left at 12:00. Whitney scored on a slap shot off an assist from Daymond Langkow 2:28 later, and Korpikoski made it 3-0 with a backhander at 18:45.

Suter's shorthanded goal on his own slap shot at 14:01 of the second seemed to jumpstart the Predators. David Legwand got his second assist, sliding the puck over to Wilson in the slot for his first goal of the season that cut the lead to 4-2 at 9:08 of the third.

The Predators outshot Phoenix 10-3 in the third and played with so much energy Coyotes coach Dave Tippett took a timeout at 13:04. The Predators even got a power play when Martin Hanzal was called for holding the stick at 14:37, but they couldn't get anything past goalie Jason LaBarbera.

Fans started heading to the exits after Doan capped the scoring with his empty netter at 18:50 of the third.

Notes: Nashville also remembered the three players with Nashville ties who died in the plane crash in Russia that wiped out the Lokomotiv team, including former Predators defenseman Karlis Skrastins. ... Coyotes forward Raffi Torres had an assist for his 100th of his career, and Langkow had his 100th career assist with Phoenix. ... Legwand now has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the first three games.

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