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Hartnell strikes twice in win vs. Coyotes

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Scott Hartnell
Photo by John Russell
Scott Hartnell scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season Monday, becoming Nashville's fourth 20-goal scorer of the 2006-07 campaign.

The Nashville Predators defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 Monday night at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Leading 1-0 after one period, the Predators scored three times in the first 5:57 of the second period--including two tallies by forward Scott Hartnell in a 23-second span--to open up a 4-0 lead that was tarnished only by one Phoenix goal late in the third period.

With the victory, Nashville secured its 40th win of the season and improved to 40-18-3. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Predators, who next face the Montreal Canadiens in a Thursday night tilt at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Game time is 7:00 p.m. CT and tickets are still available. To order your seats, purchase online, call 615-770-PUCK, or visit any Ticketmaster outlet.

J.P. Dumont, who just failed to convert a backhand chance eight minutes into the first period, was interfered with from behind during a breakaway in that period's final two minutes. After being awarded a penalty shot by officials, Dumont casually skated in from the right side and wristed a rising shot across the body of goaltender Curtis Joseph. The goal, which came at 18:49, was Dumont's 14th of the season and made it 1-0.

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The game, which featured an early 5:00 p.m. Presidents' Day start, lacked some spark in the early going. Neither team managed a shot on goal for the first four minutes of play, but by the time the first period ended Nashville had posted eight shots compared to four for Phoenix. Stephen Reinprecht nearly put the Coyotes up 1-0 just 2:50 into the game, hitting the crossbar with a scoring bid. Reinprecht forced starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun to make a big save just over four minutes later when the Phoenix forward had a break on Nashville's net.

The pace picked up right from the drop of the puck at the start of the second period. Jason Arnott scored 39 seconds in, finishing a chance started by Steve Sullivan's shot off the rush. That made it 2-0 for Nashville and the Predators built on the momentum by storming the Coyotes net over the next few minutes. Shortly thereafter, Hartnell capitalized on two breakaway opportunities for his 20th and 21st goals of the season. First, captain Kimmo Timonen hit Hartnell with a very long lead pass and Hartnell made a nice backhand move off the left wing to slip the puck between Joseph's leg pad and the goalpost. Hartnell stayed out for the next shift and was sprung for a breakaway by David Legwand's pass. This time Hartnell opted for a simple wrist shot to beat Joseph and make it 4-0 at 5:57. The 23-second span between goals established a new club record for fastest two goals by an individual.

Vokoun's most notable stop of the second period came against Oleg Saprykin's backhander at the 16:18 mark. Saprykin did eventually get his Coyotes on the board, scoring the only goal of the third period when he tipped a shot by Keith Ballard past Vokoun. That tally came at 17:14 to make it 4-1 with the game all but decided.

NOTES: Paul Kariya skated in his 800th career game Monday... Scott Hartnell, who had gone nine games without a goal, became Nashville's fourth 20-goal scorer this season. He reached the 20-goal mark for the second straight year. His second goal of the game was his 21st of the year, tying him for the team lead with Steve Sullivan and Jason Arnott, who scored his 21st of the season 39 seconds into the second period Monday... Arnott's goal was his sixth game-winning tally of the season... David Legwand registered an assist to set a new career-high in points (20g-29a=49pts)... Goaltender Tomas Vokoun assisted on Hartnell's first goal to collect his first point of the season. He made 22 saves to record his 19th win--one away from becoming the second Predators goaltender to reach the 20-win mark this season... Hartnell's two goals in 23 seconds broke David Legwand's franchise record for fastest goals by a Predator (:26) and Petr Tenkrat's franchise record for fastest goals by a Predator on home ice (:27)... J.P. Dumont's penalty shot was his second attempted during his career and his first successful one... Kimmo Timonen posted an assist to pull within one point of reaching his fifth straight 40-point season... Nashville scored four goals during 5-on-5 play and has now outscored its opposition 133-98 while 5-on-5... The Predators outscored Phoenix 3-0 in second period and have now outscored opponents by a combined 79-44 in the second period this season... Nashville has allowed only six goals in last four games (0 vs. San Jose, 1 at St. Louis, 4 vs. Minnesota and 1 vs. Phoenix)... The Predators limited the Coyotes to 23 shots, making Monday's contest the fourth straight game in which they've held the opposition to under 30 shots... Nashville is now 22-5-3 at home, 31-8-1 when scoring the first goal of the game, and 28-1-3 when leading after two periods... Vitaly Vishnevski and Jerred Smithson was scratches for Nashville.

Post-Game Comments

PREDATORS CENTER PETER FORSBERG
On how he felt playing with his new team...
I thought we found each other a little better today. They are fun to play with, we just have to make sure we bury those chances and just keep it going. We just need to practice and get better and better.

Predators head coach Barry Trotz, postgame press conference, Feb. 19, 2007 (4:47)

On being more comfortable with his teammates in his second game...
Definitely. I barely met the guys before last game. At least I know their names (now), so it was great, they're always looking for me. We have two practices now and then the game against Montreal Thursday. It's fun to play. This mobile defense, they get you the puck all the time and come up with ice with speed and puck control all the time. So, it's fun to play.

On the team's effort...
I thought it was great. I thought we just kept it more in their zone the whole time. Basically, I thought we just outplayed them. We're hungry; we were everywhere. We led 4-0 after seven minutes in the second period. I thought after that, we stopped playing a little bit. Overall, it was a good effort from the whole team.

PREDATORS LEFT WING PAUL KARIYA
On the chemistry with his linemates...
I thought we played a really good game. If I score on some empty-nets, we could get two or three. I think it's just we need a couple practices together, especially on the power-play, to figure things out a little bit; be a little bit sharper. But, if we play like that, we are going to do a lot of good things out there.

On needing a win...
It was a must-win game for us tonight after the way we've been playing. Now that we've got it under our belts, we've have to build on it. It's been one good game, one bad game, and that's not going to do anything for us going into the playoffs.

On a 4-0 lead giving his line more opportunities to feel each other out...
Yeah, it's nice not having to be scrapping for a win, but I think we need the two days in practice here. We still haven't had a practice together as a group. I think that will help out our team a lot.

PREDATORS LEFT WING SCOTT HARTNELL
On ending his scoring skid...
I think it was eight/nine games, but the main thing is we got the win. It's always nice to put the puck in the net. We got two points. We've been on a little bit of a skid as of late, but it's nice to have a good game, have everyone going, and win.

On his first goal...
I was on a change, Kariya came off and Timonen had his head up, just got some speed, and put it right on my tape. I knew a guy was coming down hard on me on my right side, was able to move the puck over quick, and get it in there. It's a big relief. I hadn't scored in awhile and it's just nice to get that first one.

On having Legwand center his line again...
He's a great player. He opens up a lot of ice for you. He skates so hard; skates so well, and he can put the puck on your tape too. It's pretty nice and I'm happy to be back with him.

On his second goal being similar to his first...
He just kind of laid it out there and skated into it. I was able to get the shot there on the blocker side, that's where J.P. (Dumont) scored, so I kind of knew that could have been one of his weaknesses, and was able to sneak it in.

PREDATORS HEAD COACH BARRY TROTZ
On scoring some goals...
"We haven't been scoring on a regular basis and I was starting to wonder in the first there. We had lots of chances and we weren't burying them. It was one of those periods where you could have three or four goals and you've got nothing."

"The Forsberg line could've had three or four goals, easy. They were all over the offensive zone tonight. They didn't get anything, but they were dangerous, and that's what you ask...I thought the guys responded pretty well."

On beating lower-seeded teams...
"There's certain goals, and to get those goals we have to consistently win...Our guys were very conscious of (their post-All Star break record), and we'll have to continue to build on that... It's not gonna be easy every night, and there's a price you have to pay. When things don't go your way, you have to find a way to win."

On Vokoun's play...
"Tomas was real good. There were two shifts in the first period where he stood tall...Tomas was moving really well and he never allowed them to get back in the game."

PHOENIX GOALTENDER CURTIS JOSEPH
On the loss...
"They got a lot of weapons.  Four lines that keep coming at you.  They are a tough team to play against."

On coming up against a team that has been in a bit of a funk...
"Yeah, seems to happen.  We catch a team that has lost two in a row and then they come out hard."

PHOENIX HEAD COACH WAYNE GRETZKY
On defenseman Ed Jovanovski's injury...
"He got hit in the collar bone, we will know tomorrow when we get back and get an MRI on him. He got a little bit lucky that he didn't get hit that bad, or in a worse spot...Looks like he'll be okay."

On tonight's game...
"We knew we were in for a battle tonight. They had lost two in a row. And they are getting more comfortable playing with Forsberg. So we knew they would be fired up."

"A costly turnover late in the first period resulted in a penalty shot and that gave them a jumpstart.  And a bad three minutes and all of a sudden it's 4-0."

"Right now we have too many weak links and too many guys not paying the price. They are the opposite, they got everybody paying the price and that's why they are successful right now. Winning is hard."

 

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