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Raanta’s heroics not enough for Coyotes to grind out a win against the Predators

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Arizona earned their third point in as many nights...the hard way

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Though not as high scoring as their previous game against the San Jose Sharks, the Arizona Coyotes’ meeting with the Nashville Predator checked all the boxes for a modern Desert Dog tragedy:

  • Arizona played a pitiful first period, registering few shots on goal.
  • They take a (double) minor penalty but their strong PK unit kills it, creating hope.
  • The opposition scores, late in a period. This time it was the second period.
  • The Coyotes tied it up in the dying moments of the same period! Ok, this was a bit of a twist on the narrative.
  • The Coyotes take the lead!
  • The opposition tie it up.
  • There is controversy, a coach’s challenge puts the tying goal under review. It could go either way but fate doesn’t fall with the Coyotes, it never does.
  • Overtime is exciting but nobody wins.
  • Arizona deflates and lose in the shootout. They get a point for all their hard work.

Read all the grisly details below!

Scoring Summary

First Period

No scoring in the first as the Predators outshot the Coyotes 12 to 6. Antti Raanta was huge in net for Arizona, making several key saves to keep Nashville scoreless.

Second Period

1-0 Nashville: Scott Hartnell was popped free on a breakaway by Ryan Ellis and went in against Raanta with Niklas Hjalmarsson on his back. Despite the pressure, Hartnell made a move that pulled Raanta out of position just enough for the puck to trickle in and hand the Predators the lead with less than 2 minutes left in the period.

1-1 Tie: The Coyotes found a way to respond with 12 seconds left in the period: Oliver Ekman-Larsson collected a Richard Panik rebound just outside the goal crease, pulling the puck below the goal-line and then banking it in off of Rinne to tie the game back up. Derek Stepan earned the other assist on the play.

Third Period

2-1 Arizona: Brendan Perlini took matters into his own hands, absolutely blitzing through Nashville’s defenders and ripping in one hell of a backhand shot to give the Coyotes’ their first lead of the match. He was assisted by Panik and Jason Demers.

2-2 Tie: A controversial and potentially missed goaltender interference call gave Nashville the goal they needed to send the match to extra time. Ryan Ellis ripped the puck in through traffic moments after Raanta took a chop to his right shoulder from an errant Predator’s stick. Arizona challenged the play but the call on the ice remained: good goal.

Overtime

The Predators continued to outshoot the Coyotes in overtime, 3 to 1. Arizona’s best chance of extra time came when Alex Goligoski received a nice pass from Panik in the slot, only to be slashed. The penalty was called against Nashville but there were only 4 seconds remaining in the period and their professional foul ensured Goligoski’s chance was ruined.

Shootout

Everyone was hungry for a better effort in the shootout after the Coyotes’ disastrous attempt against the Sharks last game, but tonight’s tries were not enough of improvement.

Nick Cousins was the lone scorer for Arizona in the third round of the shootout as the Predators scored in the first round but were bested by Raanta on their second and third endeavors. OEL failed to score in the first sudden-death round and Craig Smith sealed the win for Nashville by scoring.

Three Answers

  1. Will they be better on the road? Another point earned on the road meaning that now in the 19 games where Arizona has earned at least one point, 11 of them have been on the road. Playing away from Gila River Arena does not seem to bother the Coyotes.
  2. Can the Coyotes keep playing well when they aren’t getting rewarded? By Coyotes’ standards, they did play well tonight. However, just from watching the game, it appeared as though the Predators dominated. To walk out of that barn with a win would have been awesome for Arizona but Nashville deserved the W just as much.
  3. What’s going to go wrong now? It was a similar story tonight for the Coyotes, one we have seen many times and as recently as their immediate game before this one. Arizona battles hard and despite losing at some point, managing to get themselves into a winning position with only minutes left on the clock. The other team equalizers and the Desert Dogs escape OT only to gamble their chances in the shootout and lose.

Players of the Game

Arizona - Antti Raanta: 31 saves on 33 shots faced, good for a healthy .949 SVS%. Raanta’s play was terrific and particularly important in the first period when the Coyotes could hardly get out of their own zone and early in the second killing of a double minor.

Nashville - Ryan Ellis: An all-around stud d-man. Set up the breakaway that gave the Predators the first lead of the match and scored the goal which saved them from defeat - both timely plays.

Three Stars

As selected by the Nashville Media

Third Star: NSH - R.ELLIS

Second Star: NSH - S.HARTNELL

First Star: NSH - C.SMITH

Paw Prints

  • For more on the Nashville Predators, head on over to On the Forecheck.
  • Healthy scratches for the night were Zac Rinaldo and Freddie Hamilton.
  • Jakob Chychrun was ruled out during warm-ups due to illness. He should return to the lineup on Saturday. As a result, both Kevin Connauton and Luke Schenn drew into the lineup.
  • Ekman-Larsson’s goal in the 2nd period gives him sole possession of the franchise record for the second most goals scored by a d-man.
  • Richard Panik collected his first multi-point game as a Coyote with an assist of each Arizona goal tonight - he nearly made it three apples in overtime by setting up Goligoski in the slot, but it wasn’t to be.

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes remain on the road for one more game, facing off against the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 6:00 pm MT and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona or tuned into on AZ Sports 98.7 FM.