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Nashville Predators 5, Phoenix Coyotes 4 FINAL SO @NHLdotcom

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Paul Kariya spent much of the night in the penalty box, and coach Barry Trotz's doghouse, then climbed out just in time to score the winning goal in a shootout.

Kariya's' goal was the only one for either team in the shootout and kept the Nashville Predators unbeaten with a 5-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.

``Paul Kariya took four penalties. I was ready to strangle him,'' Trotz said, ``then he ends up scoring what eventually is the winner.''

Kariya, the third Predator in the shootout lineup, slipped the puck into the net just inside the left corner past goalie David LeNeveu. Ladislav Nagy missed on his attempt for Phoenix, giving Nashville (4-0-0) the victory.

``I don't think we've really played a good game yet, but we're finding ways to win,'' said Kariya, who signed as a free agent with Nashville. ``That's a positive, but we have to put together a 60-minute game and we still haven't done that.''

As for the penalties, Kariya said, ``It's not like I'm dropping the gloves there,''

``The stick gets caught, I don't know, that's the way it goes,'' he said. ``I'd have to look at them. I don't think there was anything major there. That's fine as long as they call it both ways if they're going to call them like that.''

Ottawa (4-0-0) is the only other unbeaten team in the NHL.

Steve Sullivan had two goals for Nashville.

Phoenix fell to 1-3-1 under coach Wayne Gretzky, who praised the effort of his young players, especially Keith Ballard, who sent an opponent sailing into the boards with a spectacular hip check.

``Ballard's hit tonight was a tremendous hit. I haven't seen that in hockey in 30 years, a hip check like that,'' Gretzky said. ``We've got to keep believing what we're trying to accomplish here and stay within ourselves, not get too emotionally excited and not get too down, simple as that.''

All of the Coyotes' losses have been by one goal, as have all of Nashville's wins.

``Every game has been a one-goal game and a nail-biter, if you will, but we'll take it,'' Trotz said. ``They don't ask how, just how many.''

Goalie Chris Mason, in his first game of the season, blocked all three of the Coyotes' shootout tries.

``You just kind of have to be patient and hopefully kind of out-wait the shooter,'' Mason said. ``You try to match their speed. If you give them extra net to shoot at, they're going to score.''

Nagy's power-play goal tied it at 4 with 1:04 left in the third period. Paul Mara's one-timer on a pass from Shane Doan went off Nagy's leg and into the net. The goal was originally credited to Mara but was given to Nagy after the game.

Sullivan scored his first goal on a power play in the first period. His second, on an assist from Kariya, came with 10 seconds left on a two-man advantage and put the Predators ahead 4-3 with 18:56 to play.

The Predators were playing one night after rallying from a 3-0 deficit to win 5-4 at Colorado.

The Predators killed 17 straight power plays to start the season before Peter Nedved, activated after missing three games with a groin injury, scored at 6:35 of the opening period. It was the first of four power-play goals, two by each team.

The 2-2 tie was broken with Nashville's first shorthanded goal of the season. LeNeveu blocked Scott Hartnell's shot, but Greg Johnson knocked in the rebound to the wide-open left side of the net at 4:16 of the second period.

The Coyotes tied it 3-3 with a rebound goal by Mara. Mason blocked Nagy's shot, then Mara took the rebound and shot it to the left of the sprawling goaltender at 15:36 of the second period.

Notes: Phoenix G Curtis Joseph was the backup to LeNeveu and probably will start Saturday night against his former team, the Detroit Red Wings. ... The Coyotes have given up two shorthanded goals in five games this season. ... The Predators wrap up their three-game road trip Saturday night at St. Louis.

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