Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/29/13
PHOENIX -- Phoenix Coyotes goalie Chad Johnson spent some time in the stands before Monday night's game against Nashville focusing and thinking of the challenge ahead. For one night, everything he imagined came to pass. Johnson, making his first start in nearly three years, stopped 21 shots for his first career shutout and the Coyotes beat the Predators 4-0. "That's what I always visualize, but it doesn't always turn out that way," Johnson said. "It's been awhile since I've been in NHL action, so I just focused on getting my feet back in it." Johnson posted his first victory since Jan. 31, 2010, at Colorado in his fourth career start. He had not started an NHL game and had appeared in only one game in his home arena. "You feel bad especially for Barbs (goalie Jason LaBarbera) because we haven't played our best in front of him," said Keith Yandle, who had a power-play goal and two assists. "We did a good job of coming together and Ocho (Johnson) was great for us." Nick Johnson added a goal and an assist, and Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski also scored for the Coyotes (2-4-0), who snapped a two-game losing streak. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said he turned to the untested Johnson to give his team a lift. "As a coach, you've got to read the emotion of the team and sometimes play to that emotion," Tippett said. "Sometimes you take emphasis off one area, put it on a different area. I thought of the spark a young goalie could give us and sometimes the team comes out and plays accordingly. That's what happened tonight." Johnson was rarely tested by the Predators (1-2-3) other than a four-shot barrage in less than a minute midway through the second period that included three saves in 10 seconds. Pekka Rinne had 21 saves for the Predators, who were shut out for the second time in three games. "Obviously, we haven't scored enough goals," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "Sometimes you have to get greasy goals and we weren't willing to get greasy goals tonight." The Coyotes needed just three minutes to take the lead. Nick Johnson left the puck on a drop pass to Vermette in the middle of the right circle and Vermette beat Rinne with a wrist shot for his third goal of the season. Korpikoski made it 2-0 at 16:48 of the second period when he corralled a loose puck on the right doorstep after a scrum in front and tucked the puck into the right side of the net for his 50th career goal. Nick Johnson, who was recalled from Portland of the AHL three days ago, added his first goal for the Coyotes with 8:26 to play, taking a pass by Yandle from between the circles and wristing home a one-timer. Derek Morris started the play for his 400th career assist. "I was pretty relieved when it went in, to be honest with you," Nick Johnson said. Yandle capped the scoring with 4:58 remaining, his first goal of the season. "We got beat all over the ice," Nashville captain Shea Weber said. "We just have to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves if we're giving it everything we can." Despite the shutout, Tippett said it's not assured Chad Johnson will start again Wednesday against Edmonton. "You know the old saying 'if it isn't broke, don't fix it?' I go by 'if it isn't broke, you haven't looked hard enough,'" Tippett said. NOTES: Phoenix is 101-13-15 when scoring first since 2009-10. ... The Predators were held to three first-period shots on goal for the second time in three games. ... Chad Johnson, who signed a one-year, two-way deal, had started six games in two brief stints with the New York Rangers. ... Coyotes C Martin Hanzal was scratched for the third time in four games with a lower-body injury. ... Rinne entered the game with an 8-5-1 record and 2.05 GAA in 14 career starts against Phoenix. ... The Predators played their fourth game of a franchise- record seven-game, 15-day road trip. ... Phoenix D Rusty Klesla (lower body) skated with the team and is nearing a return. G Mike Smith (lower body) skated solo earlier Monday and could return by this weekend. ... Greg Jamison, erstwhile buyer for the Coyotes, told The Arizona Republic on Monday he expects an announcement to be made by Wednesday or Thursday. Jamison's agreement with the City of Glendale expires Thursday.
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