Friday, March 26, 2010

Game Recap: Predators Beat Coyotes 4-3 in Shoot Out

Coach Barry Trotz speaks to the media

Steve Sullivan, Patric Hornqvist and Pekka Rinne speak

Coach Dave Tippett, Shane Doan and Lee Stempniak speak

The Nashville Predators gave up two goals in the third period, allowing the Phoenix Coyotes to tie the game, but rallied in the shoot out to come away with a 4-3 win.

David Legwand scored the shoot out winner on Ilya Bryzgalov to seal the win for the Predators who have won seven of their last eight contests. Phoenix has now lost two in a row after a nine game win streak.

Phoenix took an early 1-0 lead in the game when Lee Stepniak scored early in the first period.

Nashville came back with three unanswered goals from Patric Hornqvist, Steve Sullivan and Dan Hamhuis to take a 3-1 lead into the final period.

Phoenix came back with two quick goals by Wojtek Wolski and Keith Yandle in the third period to force the game into overtime.

Both teams skated well in the extra period but neither could close the deal.

In the shoot out, Lee Stempniak and Cal O'Reilly traded first round goals before David Legwand had the winner in the third round.

Adrian Aucoin had never missed a shootout goal, after going five for five recently, but was stopped by Pekka Rinne in the second round.

Pekka Rinne got the victory stopping 32 of 35 Coyote shots while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 28 of 31 Predator shots.

Storylines From The Game...

Beating a Team That Has Been Great in Overtime...

Phoenix has been a league best 12-5 in the shoot out this year and had phenomenal success in all games that went past 60 minutes with a 17-6 record. The Predators were fortunate to win against such imposing odds.

Barry Trotz found positives in coming back with a win in the shoot out after giving up a two goal lead. "These guys are excellent in the shoot out and overtime and have a lot of wins and a lot of points in the extra session. That's what I'm focusing on is that we found a way to win and that is real important."

Trotz also explained his choice of David Legwand as the final shooter, "If you look at a lot of our shoot outs, Leggy's been the clutch guy. He a guy that came through when we were down or when we needed a goal. He's been real clutch, and we felt he would be clutch again, and he was."

Patrick Hornqvist discussed having to go to overtime, and summed up the thoughts of the whole team, "When you are in the car on the way home you have two points and that's all that matters."

Predators Played with Improved Inspiration...

After a somewhat lackadaisical outing on Tuesday, that cost them two points, the Predators played with more jump and energy from the start of the game. It is hard to comprehend why one game can be so different from another.

"That's the game of hockey, some nights you got it and some nights it's harder to get," explained Steve Sullivan. "In 82 games in a season, you are not going to be at your best. Our job as professionals is to make sure you minimize mistakes when you are not at your best and try not to hurt your hockey club and when you do have it, you try to make the most of your opportunities."

Scary Third Period Letdown...

For the second game in a row, the Predators gave up two third period goals at an inopportune time. Fortunately, they were able to recover in the shoot out to salvage the much needed two points.

Steve Sullivan discussed the third period, "I think it was a little bit of us. I think we were on our heels trying to protect our lead instead of keep going at it."

Barry Trotz took a lighter approach, "It's the Predator way. It's always exciting and you get your bang for the buck, keeping you here right to the end. No one can leave early."

Trotz then turned more serious stating, "We could have managed the puck a little bit better but I look at it that they are one of the best third period teams in the league. They just come at you with a lot of depth. They activated their D. We didn't manage the puck as well as we wanted but the real positive is that they are something like 34-3-3 when they score the first goal."

Playoff Race Yo Yo...

Every night the Western Conference teams seem to go up and down in the standings. The Predators moved from seventh to fifth with the win on Thursday night.

They finished the evening with 91 points which is a point ahead of Los Angeles, two points ahead of Colorado, and four points ahead of Detroit. Each of those three teams have played two less games and have additional opportunity to gain points.

Calgary, who is in ninth place with 83 points lost to the New York Islanders to give the Predators an eight point cushion in the race for a guaranteed playoff position. Calgary has eight games remaining and the Predators have seven.

Up Next...

The Predators return to the ice at the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night to face the Detroit Red Wings in an important game as both teams are battling for playoff position.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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