Photo by Norm Hall
David Legwand is sandwiched by Derek Morris and another Coyotes player during a scramble in the final seconds of regulation.
Former Predator Yanic Perreault scored against his old team with 5:29 remaining to give the Phoenix Coyotes a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators Thursday night at Jobing.com Arena. Nashville took a 2-1 lead early in the third on a power play blast by Jason Arnott, but the Coyotes answered with two goals, taking their first lead of the game on Perreault's game-winning tally at 14:31.
With the defeat, Nashville's record moves to 36-14-3. After two straight losses, the Predators now return home to face the Anaheim Ducks Saturday night at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.
Steve Sullivan scored a short-handed goal 3:54 into the game to put the Predators ahead but the visitors allowed the tying goal by Jeremy Roenick at 11:16 of the first period after a defensive zone turnover by Nashville.
Early in the game, Predators forward Darcy Hordichuk ambitiously challenged heavyweight winger Georges Laraque to a fight and held his own to energize his teammates. Sullivan's shorthanded tally came during an ensuing two-minute minor given to Hordichuk for roughing. Scott Hartnell forced Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek at the point and stole the puck, heading up ice on a 2-on-0 with Sullivan. Hartnell, on left wing, faked a shot before sending a crisp pass to Sullivan for a simple redirect into the right side of the Coyotes' net.
Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun made a key save on Shane Doan two minutes later, after winger Ladislav Nagy made a nice play to send Doan in for a quality scoring bid. But Vokoun had little chance on Roenick's shot from the hashmarks at 11:16--a play set up when Coyotes center Steven Reinprecht lifted defenseman Shea Weber's stick to mute an outlet pass. Weber's attempted feed slid into the slot where Roenick skated onto it and fired for an unassisted tally.
After being outshot 7-13 in the first period, Nashville came out shooting in the second--a period that evolved into a back-and-forth track meet as it progressed. The Predators came out on top in shots for the middle frame, doubling up the Coyotes 12-6.
Nashville nearly made it 2-1 3:30 into the third when Hartnell had a breakaway broken up by defenseman Derek Morris and David Legwand's rebound attempt was stopped by goalie Curtis Joseph. Less than a minute later, Phoenix blueliner Ed Jovanovski went to the penalty box for tripping. On the power play, rookie winger Alexander Radulov was on the receiving end of a tough hit behind the Coyotes net at 5:04 and the puck was cleared down the ice. When the Predators returned up ice, Sullivan and Martin Erat set the table for a blast by Arnott from the top of the left circle. The shot beat Joseph for Arnott's 19th goal of the season and made it 2-1 at 5:29.
The lead lasted only until 8:43, when Doan pulled a loose rebound out from a pile and deflected a shot in off of the skate of Legwand. Joseph was forced to make a big save on Radulov around the 12:00 mark, then Perreault scored two and a half minutes later to give Phoenix the lead. The goal capped a play that began with Nashville losing a battle on the boards in its own zone. The Coyotes sent the puck deep to Perreault, who delivered it to Roenick along the left wall. He made a cross-ice pass to Nick Boynton at the right point and the defenseman wound for a shot but instead drove the puck to Perreault, who had moved into the slot. With Vokoun way out of his crease to guard against Boynton's faked shot, Perreault had an easy redirection to tally his 18th of the season.
Nashville pulled Vokoun for an extra attacker in the final minute and called a timeout with 28.9 left. The Predators' best chances came from Arnott--who missed the net with a rocket--and Sullivan, who batted the puck out of midair and forced Joseph to make a sharp save with four seconds remaining.
NOTES: Steve Sullivan collected a goal and an assist, extending his point streak to nine games. That's one game short of his own franchise record for longest point streak... Steve Sullivan and Jason Arnott each scored his 19th goal of the season Thursday. Sullivan and Martin Erat each posted his 35th assist in the game... Jordin Tootoo, Scottie Upshall and Vern Fiddler were scratches for Nashville.