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Predators 5, Coyotes 1 @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville Predators goalie Chris Mason was caught a little off-guard when he was credited with a goal.

Mason was credited with the goal - the ninth by a goalie in NHL regular-season play - and made 23 saves for his fifth consecutive victory in the Predators' 5-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.

Mason, forced into the starting role with Tomas Vokoun out for the season because of a blood condition, was credited with the goal when Phoenix's Geoff Sanderson shot the puck into his own net on a delayed penalty midway through the third period.

"It was a cheesy goal. Someone else should have received it. I don't even like counting one like that as a goal," Mason said. "I'd much rather shoot one and saucer it down and in. Maybe when I retire I can tell people that's how it happened."

He's the first goalie to score since Buffalo's Mika Noronen in Toronto on Feb. 14, 2004.

"I thought Mason played great and made some key saves," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Not too many guys can win three games in a week and score a goal."

After a scoreless first period, Nashville scored two goals in a 23-second span in the opening minute of the second period.

With Nashville on the power play, Martin Erat scored the first goal on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that trickled into the net off of goalie David LeNeveu 25 seconds into the middle session.

Scott Hartnell followed quickly, adding his 25th goal. Hartnell carried the puck into the Phoenix zone on the right side, pulled up in the right circle and fired a slap shot by LeNeveu's glove.

"That second goal sort of broke our back. Lenny probably would like to have that one back and keep it a 1-0 game," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "The intensity level from their team was a lot higher tonight than when we played them a few weeks ago in Phoenix."

Yanic Perreault put the Predators ahead 3-0 at 9:14 of the second period.

"I had two great chances on breakaways that he stopped, so it was nice to get another chance at one," Perreault, who later added an assist, said. "It is nice to put some wins together and build momentum going into the playoffs."

"They were shooting a lot of pucks at the net," LeNeveu said. "That's the difference, they put everything at the net and a couple of them went in."

Perreault and Hartnell were reinserted into the Nashville lineup after being healthy scratches Thursday night against Minnesota.

"I was pretty excited when they told me this morning that I was playing tonight. It almost felt like it was my first-ever game," Hartnell said. "I feel I played pretty well and built some confidence for myself."

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg scored the only Phoenix goal of the game at 9:47 of the third period.

Scottie Upshall added a third-period goal and Paul Kariya and Dan Hamhuis had two assists for Nashville.

Notes: The Coyotes signed defenseman Zbynek Michalek to a four-year contract extension. The rookie has played in all 81 games this season, posting nine goals and fifteen assists. ... The Predators will face the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs The win was Nashville's 30th home win of the season, tying them with Carolina for the league lead. ... The Predators have held their opponents under 30 shots for seven consecutive games.

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