(Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
The Phoenix Coyotes and goalie Chad Johnson were able to shutout the Nashville Predators for the second time in the last three games. Pekka Rinne has still yet to record a win this season, even though he has been playing well. “We are really hanging [Rinne] out to dry,” said forward Nick Spaling. The offensive production was lacking Monday night, but give credit to the Phoenix defense for keeping Nashville out of the slot. Things are going to have to change quickly for the Predators if they even want to consider the playoffs.
The Coyotes didn’t take long before they made their mark on the scoreboard. Three minutes in, Antoine Vermette scored high glove side on Pekka Rinne after receiving a great feed from Keith Yandle. “We mismanaged the puck,” said head coach Barry Trotz. That didn’t help the confidence of the team early on as they were boys playing a men’s game the rest of the night. “We need to come out of the gates ready to play, we weren’t tonight. No excuses,” said Spaling.
Also in the first period involved a fight between Rich Clune and Kyle Chipchura at 15:12. This came a few seconds after Chipchura was robbed of a goal by Rinne making a post to post slide.
It was a lousy first period by the Predators who weren’t winning battles and were being too fancy, according to forward Colin Wilson. “We were getting too fancy. A few players are regretting making that extra pass.” Linemate Sergei Kostitsyn must be one of them because the Belarussian passed up a backdoor shot for a pass to Wilson in the slot. “Those are opportunities we can’t let go,” said assistant coach Peter Horachek.
In a much more energetic period by Nashville, they were still unable to produce. However, Phoenix was in the second. 16:48 in, Rinne left a big rebound from a shot at the point which defenseman Ryan Ellis couldn’t clear. The Coyotes sent three players towards the net, but Lauri Korpikoski was the one player who was able to get to the rebound and score.
The third period didn’t look too good for Nashville either as the Coyotes were able to score two goals to put the icing on the cake in the game. Their chances were slipping away in the comeback while the score was 2-0, going on the penalty kill twice.
While on the Nashville attack, Legwand was unable to handle the cross ice pass and allowed Phoenix to start their breakout attack on a 4 on 2. Nick Johnson was able to score after receiving a pass from Yandle and with a Coyote player screening Rinne. Then on the power play, Yandle’s one-timer from the point was deflected in front of Rinne and went past him to score the final goal of the game.
Line Up Report
#35 Pekka Rinne
#31 Chad Johnson
Predators Scratches: #7 D Jonathon Blum, #23 W Brian McGrattan and #27 W Patric Hornqvist (sprained knee)
Coyotes Scratches: #11 C Martin Hanzal (injury), #29 D Michael Stone and #37 W Raffi Torres (suspension)
Chad Johnson Shines in ‘Yotes Debut: Entering the game Monday night against the Predators, the assumption was Jason LaBarbera was to be the starter knowing Mike Smith was going to be out with a lower-body injury. However, Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett decided to go with Chad Johnson to “look for a spark [in the lineup].” That he did, as Johnson was able to record a shutout in his Coyotes debut.
Johnson looked focused all night and was not lazy on any puck or play around him. He was able to stop all 22 shots that came his way.
Horrible Attendance: In the midst of the ownership situation for the city of Glendale and the Coyotes organization, many would think the team would have a can’t miss promotion to bring fans back to Jobing.com Arena to support their success from last season, after the lockout. Of course the lockout affected the hockey in Glendale, but this is much more.
Jobing.com Arena appeared to be relatively empty during the game. In a maroon seated stadium, most were left alone without anyone sitting in them. It doesn’t help the idea that hockey works in the south and surely doesn’t help the case for moving the Coyotes.
It was an absolutely poor attendance in Glendale Monday night.
Goals and Assists
1-0 PHX: Antoine Vermette – N. Johnson and Yandle at 3:00 in the 1st
2-0 PHX: Lauri Korpikoski – Gordon at 16:48 in the 2nd
3-0 PHX: Nick Johnson – Yandle (2) and Morris at 11:34 in the 3rd
4-0 PHX: PP Keith Yandle – Morris (2) and Vrbata at 15:02 in the 3rd
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Chad Johnson: 22 saves and a shutout
2. Keith Yandle: Goal & 2 Assists
3. Nick Johnson: Goal & Assist