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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Report: Police recommend charges against LeSean McCoy

Heat interested in Kings’ 3-point specialist Omri Casspi


Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Browns LB Armonty Bryant indicted on felony drug charge

Report: Danny Ainge 'excited' at chance to add Al Horford

Pat Haden collapsed on USC campus

Colts on Andrew Luck contract: ‘It’s going to be a shocking number’

GW basketball coach kicked out of daughter’s HS game

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

Terrell Owens says Cris Carter 'begged his way' into HOF

QUIZ: Name every WWE Heavyweight Champion

Three NHL players who can cement their legacies like Peyton Manning

Top 11 story lines for the 2016 NFL offseason

Vince Carter: I’ll know when, but I’m not ready to retire

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker