NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 02: Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators carries the puck toward Boyd Gordon #15 of the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on May 2, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
The Phoenix Coyotes seemed to forget everything they did during the first game to win and decided to play like the Nashville Predators. They allowed turnovers, made stupid mistakes, and didn't play like they wanted to win. We all expected the Nashville Predators to come out strong, they are desperate having lost the first two because of their own stupid mistakes, but we hoped that maybe the if the Yotes brought the same intensity they had in the second game they could overcome that hunger. Unfortunately that didn't happen, but I guess since the Predators lost both of their games at home during the regular season they were due for a win. Luckily there is nothing to worry about though, we still have home ice advantage, we are still leading the series, and Coach Tippett is going to make the boys sorry for their play during this game. You could definitely say that Nashville had all the luck in this game, but Tippett says that you create your luck, and to their credit they did generate the chances that lead to the lucky goals.
This loss really goes back to one main event. Mike Smith came out to play the puck, which he does often and to his credit 95% of the time it is advantageous, and instead of going around the boards completely it ricocheted onto a Predators stick, which allowed them to get an easy set up for the first goal of the hockey game. The Yotes really seemed to lose their feet after that goal and a turnover by Oliver Ekman-Larsson resulted in a pass that went through the crease, Smitty put his stick down to stop the pass causing it to ricochet up and into the net. Those were really the low points in Smith's game, other than that he was solid, which you can't really say about the rest of the team.
The team had some very good offensive moments, but don't let the shots on goal numbers fool you, Pekka Rinne was not working for most of the game. They had a few glorious moments during a 5-on-3 power play when Rinne was down on the ice but Radim Vrbata was unable to find the back of the net thanks to equal parts luck and skill by Rinne. Also watching this game I couldn't help but think to myself that I can't wait for Lauri Korpikowski to come back, Boyd Gordan had a great rush on a penalty kill but I couldn't help but think that the Korpido would have buried it. Gordan deserves a lot of credit though, he got injured blocking a shot and it looked like he may be out with a broken wrist, but he was able to return so it probably wasn't too serious.
Quick Notes From The Game In No Particular Order
- Derek Morris took way too many penalties. He took a hooking penalty and two cross checking penalties, it really killed any Coyotes momentum, even if the Yotes were better on the penalty kill.
- The Coyotes seemed to generate their best scoring chances on the penalty kill, they really needed to find a way to bring that play into the five-on-five and power play.
- If you are given a five-on-three chance you have to capitalize.
- The Coyotes out shout the Predators 32-26.
- Martin Hanzal took a big hit and was shook up for a bit, luckily he was able to get back in the game. We can't afford to have the prime line injured again.
- The Yotes didn't really have the physical play they had in the first. They need to hit harder in the final games of the series.
Five For Winning
- Foot on the gas for a full 60 minutes. One of the problems that the Coyotes had in the first game was they slowed down and played a more defensive third period. The second game didn't have that, they played a hard and fast game for all 3 periods keeping the game in regulation. Not sure about this one, the Coyotes didn't slow down for a period like they did in some of the other games but they weren't really playing strong during any of the periods.
- Discipline. Nashville was great on the power play during Game 2, it was one of the few things they could be proud of, if the Yotes don't take any penalties they aren't going to have to worry about Nashville's power play. Too many penalties, thankfully the Preds couldn't capitalize
- Always answer back. Every time the Predators scored the Coyotes answered back and scored again to preserve their lead. The Coyotes really need to do this again, either to preserve a lead if they have one or tie the game. They didn't answer back, they allowed Nashville to score a second goal.
- Shoot everything. Pekka Rinne is probably shaken up after the last two losses, any goal that the Coyotes score is going to rattle him even more, and the best way to score goals is to put lots of pucks on net. Pekka Rinne faced a fair amount of shots but they were pretty easy saves.
- Win the faceoff. Faceoffs can really affect the game more than anything else. You will an offensive zone faceoff and you get a scoring chance, you lose a defensive zone faceoff and they get a scoring chance. Remember the Coyotes won Game 1 after winning a faceoff in overtime. The first two games the Coyotes controlled the faceoff circle, this one was more even.
Our Three Stars
1. Pekka Rinne. He got a shut out. Nothing else I want to say about it.
2. Marc-Antoine Pouliot. Pouliot was generating a lot of offense and he wasn't afraid to shoot the puck, unfortunately none went in.
3. Boyd Gordan. Gordan was great on the penalty kill, and he definitely deserves credit for the Predators not scoring on their power play.
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