Both teams combined for a boring 9 shot first period before opening up the game in the second period, allowing Nashville to demonstrate why it is a playoff bound team and Arizona are not.
A power play tally late in the game to Oliver Ekman-Larsson meant the Coyotes avoided being blanked twice in as many games, but otherwise it was a pretty lackluster affair for the Sedona Red.
The first period finished scoreless with the Coyotes out-shooting the Predators 5 shots on goal to 4.
1-0 Nashville - Colin Wilson scoots into his offensive zone and lets rip a shot from the slot which Mike Smith is able to save but the rebound escapes him. With the puck loose in front of the net, Christian Dvorak attempts to clear the puck from the zone which is blocked Viktor Arvidsson. The puck then caroms off of Arvidsson and in past Smith. Unassisted at 5:00.
2-0 Nashville - On their offensive cycle, the Predators work the puck from the goal line back to the point and then move it to right to left before Ryan Ellis bombs in a one timer high over Mike Smith’s glove. Assists to Craig Smith and Roman Josi at 16:44.
3-0 Nashville - Craig Smith rushes into the offensive zone and draws the attention of the Coyotes before putting on the breaks along the boards on the right side. There he backhands the puck to Ryan Ellis who has just entered the zone and one times the puck which makes its way through traffic and into the back of the net. Assists to Craig Smith and Mike Fisher at 6:35.
3-1 Nashville - On a late power play, Anthony Duclair passes the puck from the left circle down to Christian Dvorak at the goal line. Dvorak swivels on his point and throws a saucer pass over a sliding defender and through the goal crease to the opposite face off circle where Oliver Ekman-Larsson receives the pass and one times the puck into the back of the net. Assists to Dvorak and Duclair at 16:05.
- Can the Coyotes stay out of the box? - One of the few positives for the night, Arizona were extremely disciplined and only found themselves a man down on one occasion and didn’t allow Nashville to take advantage of that opportunity.
- Can the Coyotes compete with Nashville’s defense? - Arizona’s forwards failed keep up with Nashville’s highly skilled back-end. Ryan Ellis scored twice from the point, taking advantage his teammates’ great work in front of Mike Smith.
- Can the Coyotes get to Pekka Rinne? - Arizona did not test Pekka Rinne often enough but when they did Rinne was more than up to answer the call. Finished the night making 25 saves off of 26 shots for a .962 save %.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Recorded his 40th power play goal in his Coyote career, tying the franchise record for PPGs by a defender.
Nashville - Ryan Ellis - Lead the Predators in pretty much every way, scoring two excellent goals, taking 4 shots on goal, and finishing the night on the ice for all 3 of Nashville’s goals.
- For more on the Nashville Predators, check out On the Forecheck.
- Healthy scratches for the night included the recently recalled Laurent Dauphin and Anthony DeAngelo who makes way for the return of Zbynek Michalek.
- It seems the Coyotes are giving Michalek the opportunity to finish his season, and potentially his North American career, in the NHL. Though, Z has stated several times that he would happily play on in the NHL, AHL or Europe next season if he believed it was the right thing for him and his family.
- Shane Doan, Kevin Connauton and Alexander Burmistrov all remain scratched with injuries.
- In an effort to spark some offense for the Coyotes, Dave Tippett juggles the lines, including moving Anthony Duclair to the top line alongside Christian Dvorak and Max Domi.
- With Mike Smith pulled for an extra attacker, Connor Murphy appeared to save what might have been an empty net goal for Pekka Rinne with a high stick play as the puck sailed high through the neutral zone.
- Dave Tippett confirmed in the post-game that Louis Domingue would get the start tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Coyotes play again immediately tomorrow night in Florida, taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is at 4:30pm Arizona time and the game can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or tuned into on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.