In their final meeting of the season the Phoenix Coyotes and the Nashville Predators, the teams started things off slowly, but eventually the teams started putting pucks into the back of nets. By the end of the evening, the two teams had combined for 8 goals, not including Andrei Kostitsyn's shootout winner.
Phoenix and Nashville played most of the first period at a rather glacial pace. The Coyotes looked to be about to survive their second consecutive first period in a row without giving up a goal until Martin Erat scored on a wrister with 29 seconds left in the frame. The Dogs came out and tied the game less than a minute into the second period, but from that point on the ice felt tilted in Nashville's direction. The squads traded goals by Mike Fisher and Keith Yandle in the second half of the second. It appeared the teams might go into the break tied at two, but just like in the opening frame the Dogs gave up a late goal. This time it was with just over 90 seconds left in the period when Phoenix gave up a goal.
The Predators extended their lead to 4-2 less than 3 minutes into the third period when Paul Gaustad scored. At that point Phoenix looked to be dead in the water. Oliver Ekman-Larsson got a wrister through a bit of traffic to make things interesting at the 7:11 mark of the period. Later in the period the Yotes tied the score when a Daymond Lankow shot went off Raffi Torres' leg. Neither team could get the deciding goal in the rest of the 3rd period an overtime.
In the end this wasn't the performance the Coyotes wanted or needed, but their ability to salvage a point could wind of being the difference in their season.
- Late period goals again cost the Desert Dogs like they did earlier in the season.
- Another quality performance by Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
- Michael Stone looked like a rookie. He struggled with reading plays and decision making. The Yotes blueline will look better once David Schlemko returns.
- Mike Smith wasn't bad, but he wasn't good either. I would say about average. The first goal was one he should have had. He wasn't screened and the puck was coming from near the boards. He didn't seem as confident in goal tonight as he did against San Jose Saturday. Of course, it didn't help that the Preds were being given plenty of space by his teammates. The loss certainly wasn't his fault.
- With Martin Hanzal out the Coyotes need their other centers to step up. On Saturday it was Marc-Antoine Pouliot, on Tuesday night it was Daymond Langkow.
- The Dogs were clearly the better team in the OT session.
- Radim Vrabta was held without a goal for a tenth straight game.
- Paul Gaustad showed why he is one of the best at taking draws in the business. He won 63% of his faceoffs and won some several big defensive zone draws.
Five For Winning
1. Score first. The Yotes scored first for the first time in a while against San Jose on Saturday and they controlled the game and they won. If they can do it again then maybe the win will happen again. The Coyotes also won the two games they scored first against Nashville. Didn't happen again, though the 1st period was fairly evenly played unlike when the Yotes were getting seriously outplayed early during their winning and losing streaks.
2. Special teams. Nashville has a power play goal and a short handed goal against the Coyotes, and they are second in the league for power play goals. The Coyotes special team is going to have to be in top form against this team. Neither team won the special teams battle, but their were also only four penalties in the entire game (three on Phoenix).
3. Win the first period. Earlier games this month the Coyotes ended up facing a big deficit after the first period, and the Coyotes can not let this happen again. Even if the Yotes score first they can not let Nashville come back and win the period. The Coyotes lost the period with Preds scoring with just over 30 seconds left.
4. No stupid mistakes. The Coyotes had previously had a lot of turnovers which lead to their opponents scoring, which is something that they didn't seem to do as much against San Jose. They can not allow their opponents opportunities to score because of bad passes. This was the major bugaboo again. Coyotes are still giving up too many odd man breaks.
5. Shots from everyone. One of the beautiful things about the last game was defenseman Michael Stone scored the second goal, his first in the NHL. This should show everyone on the team that goals can come from anyone, even the players you don't expect to score goals. Shots were spread around pretty well. Only Pouliot and Boedker didn't technically have shots on goal.
Our Three Stars
1. Martin Erat. He was the most consistent forward shift to shift all night. 1 goal, 2 assists.
2. Daymond Langkow. 1 goal, 1 assist. One of his best games of the season.
3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson. 1 goal, 1 assist. See above.
Comment Of The Night