Louis Domingue stopped all 26 shots he faced, and the Arizona Coyotes defeated the Nashville Predators 4-0 at Gila River Arena on Saturday night.
Nashville was shut out for the first time since Nov. 23, 2015, and wasn’t able to solve Domingue on the night, giving them their 16th regulation loss of the season.
“We have to be better,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “There’s no excuse; we have to start playing well enough to win games, not just playing games where it’s not good enough to win. There’s a difference. We need more.”
“Tonight again, it was just not good enough,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “We don’t have enough energy, we don’t battle enough, hard enough, and we don’t score goals. It’s just not good enough what we’re doing. We have to win some games here, and we’re not doing our job right now.”
Preds goaltender Carter Hutton got his sixth start of the season, and made his mark early, stopping Anthony Duclair on a penalty shot 2:13 into the contest. Hutton finished with 10 saves through a scoreless first period in which the Preds registered 15 shots.
Arizona capitalized on a power play early in the middle frame, as Antoine Vermette tallied his 200th career goal and put one home on the doorstep for a 1-0 lead that carried into the second intermission.
Tobias Rieder gave Arizona a 2-0 lead only 55 seconds into the third period, and after withstanding a late Nashville push, Rieder scored into an empty net and then Duclair added another in the dying seconds.
“Everybody’s trying, everybody wants to win and we have a great group of guys, but sometimes you just go through those struggles and we have to find a way out of it,” Josi said. “It’s not a lack of the willingness to win, but we got to correct a lot of things and just get better.”
The Preds continue onto Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Tuesday, another test against one of the League’s top teams, as the halfway point of the season is now in the rearview.
“We’re in a playoff race, and it's going to go by fast,” Josi said. “You have to win those games right now. You can’t wait until the end of the year to win games and think you’re going to make the playoffs. Everybody’s catching up and we need some points.”
Defenseman Petter Granberg was inserted into the lineup on Saturday, making his debut with the Preds, while skating alongside Mattias Ekholm. Granberg registered two hits in 13:12 of ice time.
“I thought he did well,” Laviolette said of Granberg. “[Ekholm] and Petter had played [together] before and had some experience together. He’s a big kid, skates well, closes, bangs bodies in the defensive zone; I thought he did a good job.”
Forward Colin Wilson was absent from Saturday’s game and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
The Predators head to Chicago ahead of a matchup with the Blackhawks on Tuesday evening, the third outing of Nashville’s current four-game trip, before finishing in Winnipeg on Thursday.