Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coyotes beat Predators 2-1 to take series and move on to the Western Conference Finals

Predators' General Manager David Poile put together the most complete group of players for a long playoff run that the Nashville Predators had every had.

However, in the end, it was Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes who stole the second round series that few gave the Coyotes a chance to win against the stacked Nashville squad. Smith has to be considered a leader for the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Coyotes continue to advance.

Phoenix took the series 4-1 taking game five 2-1 on home ice at Jobing.com Arena.

It was a complete day of celebration in the desert with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announcing that former San Jose CEO, Greg Jamison would soon be buying the Coyotes from the NHL.

On the ice, players and fans celebrated the Coyotes first trip to the conference finals where they will face the Los Angeles Kings, most likely, starting this weekend.

For the Predators, they are left to wonder what happened and are looking at an offseason of free agency that will possibly reshape several key players of the franchise.

Phoenix got goals from Derek Morris and Martin Hanzal while the Predators' only goal came from Colin Wilson in the closing minutes that made the finis interesting.

Smith was incredible in net, stopping 32 of 33 Predator shots while Pekka Rinne was solid stopping 15 Coyote shots.

In the end, it was clear that Phoenix had outplayed the Predators and deserved to move on. The Predators could only be faulted for running into a hot goalie at the wrong time.

The postgame handshake like was as classy as you could see with two of the best coached teams in the NHL showing the character of their leaders with sincere congratulations up and down the line.

Make the jump for more details from the game...

At The Puck Drop...

In Goal: Nashville - Pekka Rinne  (5-4-1, 2.07, .932) and Phoenix - Mike Smith  (7-3-2, 1.85, .946).


Nashville - Jon Blum, Jordin Tootoo, Craig Smith, Matt Halischuk, Chris Mueller, Brian McGrattan, Kyle Wilson, Jack Hillen, Victor Bartley, Ryan Ellis, Jeremy Smith, and Chet Pickard.

Phoenix - David Runblad, Connor Murphy, Rostislav Klesla, Paul Bissonnette, Chris Summers, Andy Miele, Michael Stone, Matt Watkins, Raffi Torres, Brett MacLean, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Alexandre Bolduc, Brett Hextall, Ethan Werek, Maxim Goncharov, Jordan Szwarz, Justin Pogge, and Louis Domingue.

First Period...

Alexander Radulov and Sergei Kostitsyn started the game on a revamped third line with Nick Spaling. Sergei Kostitsyn was placed on a fourth line with Brandon Yip and Paul Gaustad. Colin Wilson stayed on the top line with Mike Fisher and Marty Erat as he was at the end of game four.

Neither team had many scoring chances until a shift that ended at 9:12 when the Preds put pressure on Smith that resulted in a pair of shots and scuffle behind the Yotes net.

The games first penalty came at 17:45 when Martin Hanzal was called for roughing Spaling. The Phoenix defense stifled the Preds power play and held them shot-less.

The Predators were far more desperate on the offensive end in the opening period as indicated by the lopsided 22-1 Corsi margin.

1st Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        0        10        22       0-0:00  8-9   47%
Coyotes           0         5        11       1-2:00  9-8   53%

Second Period...

Phoenix broke the scoreless tie at 3:54 when Morris blasted a shot from the blue line that found its way through several players and under Rinne's pad.

Roman Josi was called for interference on Ray Whitney. Thirty-three seconds into the penalty Hanzal was called for hooking Spaling. The Yotes were credited with one shot during the four on four while the Preds had one on the short man-advantage.

Nashville went back on the power play at when Shane Doan cross-checked Hornqvist in front of the Coyotes' net. Weber hit the left post at 10:59 hit and the Preds had four more shots, including three by Weber, that could not find the net.

The Predators continued to keep pressure on the Coyotes but Phoenix recovered the puck and on a simple breakout managed to convert on a shot by Hanzal from near the blue line at 15:09.

2nd Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        0        12        23       0-0:00 9-7  56%
Coyotes          2         7        16       2-4:00 7-0  44%

Third Period...

The Predators continued to pressure the Coyotes as the final period started and Smith continued to be a wall in net.

The Predators went on the man advantage at 2:38 when Shane Doan was called for holding Fisher. The Predators worked diligently but failed on their twelfth straight man-advantage garnering only a single shot.

Nashville continued to throw everything they could at the Phoenix net in the first half of the period but Smith and the rest of the Coyotes played stellar defense.

The Predators finally broke their seven period scoring drought at 14:01when David Legwand found Wilson in the slot for a redirect that got past the previously infallible Smith to make the score 2-1. Ryan Suter also assisted on the play.

After the goal, the Predators continued to play with increased urgency. The many attempts just didn't go in.

3rd  Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1        11        28       0-0:00 8-14  36%
Coyotes        0         5        13       1-2:00 14-8  64%


Final     Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1        33        73       1-2:00 25-30  45%
Coyotes        2        17        40       4-8:00 30-25  55%

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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