NHL wins leader G Pekka Rinne stopped all three participants for Phoenix & Andrei Kostitsyn converted on a slick move to help Nashville survive & move on with 2 points against a desperate Coyotes team. This was a very even game that was made much more entertaining by the fact that the Coyotes were trailing for most of the game & were unable to implement the defensive system they use so effectively with a lead. Despite the score, both net minders were actually pretty good in this contest making 31 saves each.
The Preds were outplayed for much of the 1st period, but were able to escape with a 1-0 lead when Martin Erat fired a wrist shot that caught G Mike Smith & then landed across the goal line for his 17th G on the season with :29 seconds left. The 2nd period saw Phoenix strike in just 49 secs as Daymond Langkow tipped home a shot for his 9th G of the year. Ten even played minutes would follow before Preds F Mike Fisher drove to the net & put home his 21st G of the season after a failed 2 on 1 by Martin Erat & Sergei Kostitsyn pulled Mike Smith out of position. Phoenix ties the game up at 2 just 3 mins later as D Keith Yandle makes a great move to go around a couple of shot block attempts right into the circle & fires a wrist shot through heavy traffic for his 10th G.
Before the end of the 2nd during a 4 on 4 situation, Preds D Francis Bouillon found some space & carried the puck into the high slot & scored his 1st G of the season giving the team a huge lift & a 3-2 lead. 2:36 into the 3rd period Predators C Paul Gaustad sprung Craig Smith for a breakaway & after going forehand-backhand-high he easily beat the Coyotes goalie to give his team a 4-2 lead.
Phoenix was very strong the rest of regulation & pushed the Preds into making many mistakes with puck possession that led to the blown 2 goal lead. In overtime, the Preds were also outplayed, but again survived & forced the deciding shoot out. Andrei Kostitsyn was the only player to convert & gave The Preds the extra point pulling them within 2 pts of 4th in the Western Conference.
Injury update: D Kevin Klein has missed the last 6 games & is questionable for the rest of the current 4 game west coast road trip this week due to an upper body injury (has begun skating). D Roman Josi will miss the entire 4 game road trip & has been left in Nashville with an upper body injury.
The bottom line…..
The Nashville Predators are 41-21-7 (89 Pts) with 13 games remaining and sit 3rd in The Central Division, 8 Pts behind St Louis (12 GR) & 2 Pts behind Detroit (13 GR).
-In the Western Conference The Predators are in 5th, 2 Pts behind Detroit (13 GR) with the chase pack: 6 Chicago (82 PTS 12 GR), 7 Phoenix (79 12 GR), 8 Colorado (78 12 GR) & 9 San Jose (77 14 GR).
-The Predators next continue 4 game road trip: Thurs @ San Jose 9:30 CT, Sat @ LA 9:30 CT, Sun @ Anaheim 7 CT.
-The Predators have gained 2 of a possible 2 points so far on the current road trip.
-The Predators are 4-2-0 since Andrei Kostitsyn & Paul Gaustad joined the team.
-F Mike Fisher scored 1 goal Vs Phoenix giving him 21 on the season (5th 20 G season of career) & his line scored 6 Pts.
-F Martin Erat had 1G & 2A Vs Phoenix & now has 52 points on the season (5 shy of career high) .
-F Sergei Kostitsyn had 2A Vs Phoenix & has 6 Pts in last 4 games (suddenly has 42 Pts on the season).
-F Jordin Tootoo led the team in Hits with 6 in 13:00 mins of ice time, C Paul Gaustad had 4 & team had 29 total hits.
-G Pekka Rinne leads the NHL in wins with 39.
Leg-watch 500- With 3 Assists Vs Detroit on Saturday, David Legwand now has 492 points in his career (184G 308 A) with the Predators.