Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/29/12

. GLENDALE, Ariz. - To the rest of the National Hockey League, Pekka Rinne is a Vezina Trophy candidate. To the Phoenix Coyotes, he's Murray Bannerman.

Proving once again that Phoenix is Rinne's personal Waterloo, the Coyotes victimized the Nashville Predators goalie early and often in a 5-3 win Sunday at Jobing.com Arena that gave Phoenix a 2-0 lead in this Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Phoenix grabbed a 4-2 lead after two periods, marking the fourth time in six meetings with Rinne this season that the Coyotes had scored at least four goals. In six games against Rinne, the Coyotes have scored 21 times for an average of 3.5 goals per game. Rinne allowed 2.39 per game overall during the regular season.

This series was billed as a battle of goaltenders before it began, and there was good reason. Rinne was named one of three finalists for the Vezina. while Smith was the playoffs' best goaltender in the first round, stonewalling the Chicago Blackhawks on 95 percent of their shots.

Yet, through two games, the teams have combined for 15 goals.

Nashville looked to make a game of it when it scored its second power-play goal of the game early in the third period to cut the Phoenix lead to 4-3 on a one-timer from the left circle from defenseman Ryan Suter.

But Phoenix captain Shane Doan deflected Derek Morris' shot from the point 3:36 into the third to restore the two-goal lead, and the Predators could draw no closer.

Antoine Vermette, the Coyotes' lone trade deadline acquisition, put Phoenix up 1-0 on a tic-tac-toe passing play from defenseman Keith Yandle and wing Mikkel Boedker midway through the first period. Boedker did most of the work, winning a foot race into the corner and outmuscling his man to feed the puck to Yandle, who slid it to Vermette at the far post. It was Vermette's team-leading fifth goal of the postseason.

Nashville answered with a goal late in the period when defenseman Kevin Klein feathered a brilliant pass to Andrei Kostitsyn in front of the net. Kostitsyn chipped it over Smith's shoulder to send the teams to the first intermission tied at 1-1.

The Coyotes took control of the game in the second period. Wing Radim Vrbata drove hard past Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and looked like he was heading around the net, but at the last moment he pulled up and centered a pass between Rinne's pads and onto the stick of center Martin Hanzal, who drove it home for a 2-1 lead.

Vrbata then gave the Coyotes a rare two-goal lead on a freak play. Nashville forward David Legwand tried to glove a fluttering puck away from danger. Instead, he batted it right to Vrbata, who banged it home 7:05 into the period for a 3-1 lead.

Nashville cut the lead to 3-2 on Patric Hornqvist's power-play goal at 11:20, but the Coyotes answered just 30 seconds later when a hard-driving Taylor Pyatt banged home a rebound of Doan's shot from the wing for a 4-2 Phoenix lead after the second.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Novak Djokovic could miss rest of season with elbow injury

Reggie Jackson praises, urges caution with Aaron Judge

Panthers QB Cam Newton shows up to camp in best shape of career

Yankees progressing on deal to acquire Sonny Gray, Yonder Alonso

Report: Derrick Rose was unwilling to accept bench role with Lakers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Stephen Strasburg expected to make next start for Nats

John Lackey makes history, hits four batters in one game

Report: Suns G Brandon Knight suffers torn ACL

The Cavaliers have one unhappy star and three options

Garrett walks out on media over Whitehead questions

D-Rose landing in Cleveland could be good for Cavs, himself

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

Every MLB team's best and worst deadline trade from the last 25 years

The most memorable moments from the class of 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

28 MLB trade deadline deal prospects since 2000 who went on to become All-Stars

Box Score 7/25: The pressure of the trade deadline is here

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker