Saturday, May 5, 2012

Predators must be resilient again after losing Game 4

The Phoenix Coyotes were able to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Semifinals after they defeated the Nashville Predators by a 1-0 score on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena. With the win, the Coyotes have a chance to close out the series on Monday night in Game 5 in Glendale.

Shane Doan scored the only goal of the game on an odd play in the first period. Hal Gill was knocked off of the puck along the wall by Doan, and Mikkel Boedker was able to corral it and make a quick pass to Doan. After collecting the pass, Doan carried the puck to the slot and fired a backhand shot toward Pekka Rinne. His backhand shot went off of Nashville defenseman Roman Josi and into the net.

After being totally outplayed in the first period, the Predators were able to generate several good chances in both the second and third periods. However, Mike Smith and the Coyote defense came up big on several occasions. The Predators also had a hard time hitting the net.

Nashville's most consistent line on Friday night was the line of Colin Wilson, Nick Spaling and Brandon Yip. They were able to generate several good scoring chances and play a solid defensive game as well.

"We were clicking tonight. I think we did a good job cycling down low. We had some good chemistry and we got a lot of chances. Unfortunately, we didn't capitalize on them," Yip said.

It appeared for a moment that Nashville had tied the game late in the third period on a scramble in Smith's crease. The Predators slid the puck past Smith for an apparent goal but the official immediately waved it off. That is the second consecutive game that Nashville has had an apparent goal waved off by the official.

The Predators have been a resilient team all season long. They have had several comebacks throughout the course of the season that have been improbable to say the least. Some have been flat out amazing. If they are going to come back and win this series, they are going to need a monumental effort.

"This series is far from over. We've come back in third periods before from two or three goals I can remember. We've just got to put a little run together, but it all starts with the next game in Phoenix. We've just got to focus on that and make sure we get the win," Yip said.

There is no word on whether or not Alexander Radulov or Andrei Kostitsyn will play in Game 5 on Monday night in Phoenix, but Nashville Head Coach Barry Trotz did say that there will be some lineup changes on Monday night.

If the Predators are going to stay alive and get a win in Phoenix on Monday night, they will have to make a few adjustments. Nashville's first period on Friday night was brutal. They weren't controlling the play, and they allowed several prime scoring chances for the Coyotes. If not for the stellar play of Rinne, the Predators could have been in a big hole after the first period. They will have to correct that on Monday night.

"We have to have a better start. They kind of took it to us in the first period there, and we were kind of on our heels. For the second and third, I thought we played pretty well. We can still tighten up a little bit in our own zone. The first (goal) is huge. We're a good team with the lead. They made it tough on us. They trapped it up a bit on us when we were down one there so it made it difficult," Yip said.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Mike Smith(PHX)
2. Shane Doan(PHX)
3. Pekka Rinne(NSH)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Mike Smith(PHX)
2. Shane Doan(PHX)
3. Colin Wilson(NSH)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)