The Arizona Coyotes got shut out by Carey Price on Saturday night. The hockey gods acknowledged this fact by giving them Pekka Rinne Monday night.
Though Arizona would manage to score a goal on Rinne and the Nashville Predators, they were unable to hold off a desperate Nashville team in overtime, as they fell 2-1 in the extra frame.
Early indicators suggested that this game was going to be tight all the way. The teams traded shots back and forth for much of the first period, but neither side managed to break through. Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue stopped 13 shots in the first, while Pekka Rinne stopped nine.
The second period would create plenty of fireworks between two struggling teams. Mike Fisher and B.J. Crombeen took turns punching each other at 3:02, and then Paul Gaustad scored the first goal of the game just 24 seconds later. The goal was a fortuitous one, as Taylor Beck fanned on the initial shot. The slow-rolling puck managed to be in the perfect place for Gaustad to bang a quick one through Domingue's legs.
At 9:12, the Coyotes and Predators decided they weren't done fighting. Kyle Chipchura took exception to a Gaustad hit along the boards, and got ready to drop the mitts. After a couple seconds of staring each other down, Gaustad appeared to surprise Chipchura with a quick punch that sent the Coyote down. That would end the festivities of the second, as they game continued to be tightly played.
Arizona surged back to start the third, aided by a high-sticking double-minor on Shane Doan by James Neal. Though the power play would struggle to enter the zone for the first have of the man advantage, Arizona finally capitalized at 7:27. John Moore took a shot that Chipchura deflected high over Rinne's catching glove and in. The Preds and Coyotes would go the rest of regulation tied, though David Moss took an extremely inopportune slashing penalty with just 1:23 left to play.
Though Arizona would kill the penalty off, the overtime was all about Nashville. The Predators registered every single shot on net in the extra frame, and Neal would atone for his double-minor with the game winner at 2:45. The win snapped Nashville's six game losing streak.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star: James Neal - His game winning goal was exactly what Nashville needed in the Central Division playoff chase, and it capped off an amazing shift for the Preds in OT.
- 2nd Star: Pekka Rinne - Rinne was good. Really good. He stopped 27 of 28 shots on the night.
- 1st Star: Louis Domingue - He didn't get the win, but his 38 saves kept the Coyotes in the game in situations where they otherwise might not have been. He very nearly single-handedly kept them alive in overtime too.
- For the Nashville perspective, check out On the Forecheck.
- Connor Murphy missed the game with illness, which meant Brandon Gormley drew in for the first time since February 28th in Boston. He played 9:47.'
- Also absent from tonight's game was Lauri Korpikoski, with an undisclosed injury. Brendan Shinnimin played 13:20 in his stead.
- Penalties aplenty in tonight's game: Nashville had five power play opportunities while Arizona had four, not including the four fighting majors handed out. Arizona was the only one to capitalize on the man advantage.
- Shot attempts were 68-69 Nashville going into overtime. In OT, Nashville had 11 while Arizona had none. Domination.
- Attendance: 11,227.
Arizona has a bit of a break before their next game. They take on the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night in front of what is sure to be a spirited crowd. Puck drop is at 7 PM Arizona time.