Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 5/5/12
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Two Phoenix-area reporters were walking into the postgame press conference Friday night, searching for a launching point to their stories, when one columnist blurted out: "You want a lead? The Jets (Coyotes) have never been to the conference finals." At that very moment, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett entered the room and chastised the columnist with a: "Shhhhh!" The Coyotes are thriving on this underdog, under-siege, under-the-radar role. Why jinx it now? For a second straight game, the Nashville Predators threw everything they had at the Coyotes, carrying the play for large stretches of the second and third periods. But a combination of sound defensive play, missed Predators opportunities and strong goaltending from Mike Smith produced a 1-0 win at Bridgestone Arena, putting the Coyotes on the brink of that milestone Tippett doesn't want to acknowledge. "We talked about how they were going to push hard tonight and we had to be better," captain Shane Doan said. "We were better for the most part." That was especially true in the first period, when the Coyotes displayed the kind of push they did in Game 2 when they thoroughly dominated Nashville. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne made a pair of stellar saves on Mikkel Boedker and Ray Whitney to keep the game scoreless early, but Doan finally broke through on a goal that went in off the stick of Nashville defenseman Roman Josi at the 14:25 mark of the first period. The team that scored first had won every game in this Western Conference semifinal series, and Phoenix used that knowledge to assume a familiar rope-a-dope style, albeit with one notable exception: the defensive-zone coverage was superb. The Coyotes got their sticks into the passing and shooting lanes to deflect countless pucks. And when they couldn't reach the pucks, the Coyotes reached the Predators, taking away space and time in their own zone to force Nashville into hurried and often inaccurate shots. The Predators had a total of 14 missed shots, many of them on quality scoring chances. Forward Patric Hornqvist led the way with five, including a golden opportunity in the second period when Smith mishandled the puck and Hornqvist had the entire upper half of the net open but shot high. "We were still aggressive," said Smith, who posted his second postseason shutout while upping his save percentage to .946. "When they did get opportunities, we got stick on puck and we had guys lying down blocking shots. My 'D' were tremendous tonight. This was one of the better games they've played in front of me." The Coyotes have been in this situation before. They brought a 3-1 series lead back home for Game 5 against Chicago in the first round and lost in overtime. But forward Ray Whitney said there are no grand lessons to take from that experience -- just the knowledge that playoff games are tight affairs. "We realize that this series is certainly not over," Whitney said. "The game tonight could have gone either way, and I wouldn't expect anything less from them in the next game." In the meantime, the Coyotes will take Saturday off to regroup, recharge, refocus and maybe watch the Kentucky Derby. One Coyotes official jokingly asked for recommendations on which horse to back. If we were betting, we'd go with Bodemeister. His jockey's name? Mike Smith.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manfred blames MLBPA for no significant rule changes in 2017

Report: Zach Britton has potential oblique injury

The Rock returns to WWE, leaves CM Punk a voicemail after 'Raw'

After outfield collision, Ichiro pranks teammate and claims he’s been cut

Simeon Rice gets vulgar with radio host over HOF debate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ronda Rousey to be guest star on NBC’s ‘Blindspot’

Lakers replace Jim Buss with Magic Johnson, fire Kupchak

Report: James Harrison, Steelers share mutual interest in 2017 return

Jimmy Garoppolo’s mom keeping him up to speed on his trade rumors

Report: Clippers intent on keeping both Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Slam dunks and startups: How all-star technology took over the NBA in The Big Easy

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. 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

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 100 games with two different teams

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

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