Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 3/13/12

The Nashville Predators started a four-game road trip in Phoenix on Monday night with a 5-4 shootout win over the Coyotes. Nashville is now just two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for fourth place in the Western Conference standings.

Martin Erat had a goal and two assists on Monday and Andrei Kostitsyn picked up the only tally in the shootout to lead the Predators to victory. Goaltender Pekka Rinne made 31 saves.

It was a scoreless first period until only 29 seconds remained on the clock. Erat picked up his 17th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn and Hal Gill got the assists.

It was 1-0 game heading into the second period, but the trend of allowing the opponent to respond quickly after the Predators scored continued. Daymond Langkow picked up his 9th goal of the year with a tip-in just 49 seconds into the middle frame. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Raffi Torres picked up the assists.

At 11:04 into the second period, Rinne made a save on a Keith Yandle breakaway, and the puck was sent down the other end of the ice by the Predators. Nashville took a 2-1 lead when Mike Fisher scored his 21st goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn set Fisher up.

Just over three minutes later, Yandle would not be denied as he beat Rinne high, glove side to tie the game at 2-2.  It was Yandle’s 10th goal of the season.

Before the second period ended, Nashville took a 3-2 lead with both teams skating four aside. Francis Bouillon drove to the net to put a rebound behind Smith. The goal was Bouillon’s first of the season.

The Predators made it a two-goal lead when Paul Gaustad sent the puck up the ice to rookie Craig Smith who went in all alone scoring on the backhand on a breakaway to make it 4-2. Gaustad now has three assists in five games with Nashville.

Phoenix scored twice in a little under 5 minutes to tie the game on goals from Ekman-Larsson and Torres.

Phoenix had two shots during the overtime period to Nashville’s one shot on goal. While Andrei Kostitsyn scored in his first shootout attempt as a member of the Predators, Rinne stopped Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata, and Mikkel Boedker for Phoenix.

Jack Hillen was back in the lineup. Josh Cooper of The Tennessean tweeted that Roman Josi did not make the trip out West with the team and is out with an upper-body injury. On Saturday night against the Red Wings, Josi was hit hard by Brad Stuart. Kevin Klein is still out with an upper-body injury.

Forwards scratched for Nashville on Monday night were Brian McGrattan, Brandon Yip and Matt Halischuk.

Nashville doesn’t play again until Thursday night when they visit San Jose to take on the Sharks.

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