Saturday, February 19, 2011

Predators Lose to Coyotes 3-2, Suter Injured

The Nashville Predators lost the game to the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 and lost Ryan Suter to an "upper body" injury in the process at the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.

The Coyotes got goals from Keith Yandle, Taylor Pyatt, and Lauri Korpikoski while the Predators countered with markers from Sergei Kostitsyn and Shea Weber.

The Predators had an opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds with Cody Franson and Mike Fisher both having quality chances at three and one seconds remaining, respectively.

Ilya Bryzgalov took the win stopping 30 of 32 Predator shots while Pekka Rinne was the hard luck loser stopping 23 of 26 Coyote shots.

Officially, Suter was listed as "day to day" after the game. Should the injury be of the longer term variety, that may prove to be the bigger loss of the evening. The injury occurred on a play in the corner away from the puck on a hit from Shane Doan. No penalty was called other than an unsportsmanlike conduct to Suter for his complaints to the official.

Barry Trotz was upset with the play. "I had an issue on the hit on Suter. I think we are trying to get those out of the game. The puck is in the corner and he's battling with one guy and he turns and the tuck is four or five feet from from and there was no play on the puck. It was a straight play on Suter."

The opening period was typical of what recent Preds-Coyotes games have been with plenty of defense and tenuous play on offense. The Preds first shot on goal came 13:30 in to the period. For the period, the Coyotes out shot the Predators 5-4 but the Preds led the Corsi 14-13.

The second period had an inauspicious start with Shane Doan being awarded a penalty shot ten seconds after the puck drop after he was taken down by Ryan Suter on a breakaway. He missed the shot with a very vanilla effort.

The Coyotes then scored a couple of quick goals at 3:51 and 4:49 in the period by Yandle and Pyatt to quickly dampen the spirit of the Predators tenth sell out crowd of the season.

The Predators responded at 6:37 on the power play when Kostitsyn corralled a rebound off a Mike Fisher shot and flipped it high above Bryzgalov to bring the Preds within one at 2-1.

Phoenix extended their lead at 7:32 in the third period when Korpikoski fired a slap shot from near the blue line the found the net to make it 3-1.

Then at 12:28, the Predators thought they had pulled within one when Fisher scored on a beautiful shot that was negated by a Shane O'Brien high sticking call a split second before the puck entered the net.

Nashville called a time out with 1:09 left in the game to plan the final attack. The Predators sent six skaters on to the ice and at with 50 seconds left, Weber connected to bring the Preds within one.

The Predators made a gallant effort as the clock ticked down but could not land the game-tying goal.

O'Brien was not happy after the game and called out Derek Morris for his reaction to the high stick call that nullified the Fisher goal. "This is a man's game, men playing against men. I think I grazed maybe the side of his face and he sold it like I cross checked and took his whole row out."

Jordin Tootoo returned to the ice after missing the last 23 games while receiving treatment from the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program of the NHLPA and the NHL. He skated 11 shifts, logging 10:03 in ice time. He received a rousing reception from the crowd each time he entered the ice.

"The fans have been tremendous with me since day one. It's great to see the support they've given to me," Tootoo related. "I want to give a round of applause to them."

The loss dropped Nashville into fifth place as San Jose moved into fourth with a win over Colorado.

The Predators will take Sunday off and practice at the Bridgestone Arena on Monday before traveling to Columbus for Tuesday's match with the Blue Jackets.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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