For sixty minutes, the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes played as close a game as possible but Shane Doan's goal in the opening period was the only puck to find the net in a 1-0 win for the Yotes that gave then a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Time after time, the Predators had scoring chances from ideal locations that either missed the net or were stopped by Coyote goalie, Mike Smith.
The Predators were somewhat slow out of the box, only getting four shots on goal in the opening period, but skated much better in the final two periods and created plenty of chances.
The Phoenix defense play a solid game in front of Smith, giving him all the support that he needed in throwing the shutout at the hometown Predators.
As had been seen twice before in the series, in games one and three, an apparent Predator goal was waived off by the officials due to a whistle being blown. The play in question on Friday came with 7:12 left in the game when Mike Fisher nudged the puck over the line as Smith slid into the goal.
The official explanation from the league was that the goal was waived off due to the whistle being blown. There was also an indication in the postgame from Preds Coach Barry Trotz that the players were told that that Patric Hornqvist had pushed Smith into the net so it is obvious that there was confusion as to why the goal was disallowed.
Regardless of the controversy, the Predators are in a deep hole and are faced with winning three games in a row if they plan to advance to the next round.
After sticking with the same lineup in Friday's match as in game three, Trotz indicated that he would reevaluate and probably make changes for game five.
After sitting out the first six games of the playoffs, Colin Wilson has proven to be one of the better players on the ice in the last three games and picked up third star honors for his hustling two-way play. He has played well on a revamped line with Nick Spaling and college teammate Brandon Yip.
Patric Hornqvist was also a dominant force for the Preds as he appeared to have more scoring chances than anyone in the game as he launched twelve pucks toward the net but only three were credited as official shots.
Mike Smith stopped all 25 Predator shots while Pekka Rinne stopped 23 of 24 Yotes shots and could not be faulted for the lone goal as it appeared to have been tipped, possibly more than once.
Every game to this point, with the exception of the Predators' dud in game two, has turned on a break here or there, so anything is possible in the remainder of the series.
The Predators will have an off day on Saturday and then practice on Sunday before flying back to the desert to face the Coyotes at 9 p.m. CDT at Jobing.com Arena on Monday.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass