Posted November 26, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Nashville Predators used a fast start to stay on a roll. Nick Spaling, Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque scored first-period goals to lead Nashville to a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night. Shea Weber also scored for Nashville, which has won four of five. Mikkel Boedker and Tim Kennedy scored for the Coyotes, who lost their third straight. Spaling scored the game's first goal at 1:02 of the opening period. From the right side, Matt Cullen's initial shot was denied by Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith. But skating through the slot, Spaling picked up the rebound and put it over Smith's right shoulder. ''I think the key to our success is coming out early,'' Spaling said. ''We're at home and we have to take advantage of playing here. We've been on the road quite a bit lately, so it's nice to be home.'' Craig Smith also assisted on the goal for Nashville, his ninth of the season. Fisher doubled the Nashville lead at 8:22 of the first. From below the goal line to the right of the Phoenix net, Colin Wilson found Fisher in the right circle, where he beat Smith low to the stick side. Fisher's goal came just seconds after Phoenix captain Shane Doan rang a shot off the right post. ''I thought the two last periods, we were all right, but we can't keep getting behind like that,'' Boedker said. ''It seems like every time they score, we start playing, which is not what we want to do.'' Bourque made it 3-0 at 18:27 of the first when he converted off a nice pass from Viktor Stalberg with Nashville on a 2-on-1 break. ''That was a great pass,'' Bourque said. ''We came with a lot of speed. It was a nice pass and I just had to bury it in.'' Phoenix made it 3-1 at 9:34 of the second when Boedker tipped Antoine Vermette's wrister from the right faceoff dot and beat Nashville goaltender Marek Mazanec between the pads. ''They had a push in the second,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ''I thought we were deflecting it pretty well and going pretty well until they scored the goal. They got a little momentum off of that.'' Kennedy got the Coyotes within a goal at 13:00 of the second when he grabbed a loose puck and beat Mazanec for his first of the season. ''We just made some mistakes 1-on-1, missed coverages that ended up in the back of our net three times,'' Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. ''We had to get ourselves back into the game before we got embarrassed.'' Weber added an empty-netter with 34.3 seconds remaining. Weber was just attempting to clear the puck from inside the Nashville zone, but his bank shot caromed perfectly off the boards and into the vacated Phoenix goal. Doan did not return to the bench for the start of the third period. The team announced that he would not return to the game due to a lower-body injury. Notes: Predators RW Patric Hornqvist missed the game with an upper-body injury sustained Saturday night. ... Nashville has not allowed a power-play goal in its past five games. ... Phoenix has been outscored 25-15 in the first period this season.
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