The Nashville Predators have officially hit the most crucial part of their postseason. With a 5-3 loss to the Coyotes, Nashville has entered a semi-do or die mode. If Nashville loses at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, they'll be down 3-0 to Phoenix -- a highly difficult task to come back from.
In Game 1, the Predators harped on all the positives. They out-shot the Coyotes that game. They carried the play in the third period and overtime. On Sunday in Game 2, they were thoroughly outplayed by Phoenix. The Coyotes out-shot their opponent for the first time this postseason. They were a combined plus-20 amongst their players. Nashville was a combined minus-20.
Before the series, Nashville coach Barry Trotz seemed to like the fact that his squad would start this round on the road. The Predators were beat by a team that played harder, better and more defensive. They essentially threw Nashville's own medicine back at them.
Now Nashville heads home for two games. In the playoffs, home-ice advantage means so little at times, but Nashville will need to use all tricks possible to get back in this series at Bridgestone Arena. If they don't, it could be an earlier-than-expected offseason.
-Left wing Colin Wilson made his 2012 playoff debut. Wilson had been a healthy scratch for all six of the Predators' previous playoff games. Wilson played 9:04 and had one shot on goal. Because he entered the lineup, left wing Craig Smith exited.
"They told me to play a down-low game," Wilson said. "I wasn't messing around with it from the blue line, I was trying to get pucks in."
-Goalie Pekka Rinne has sterling career numbers against the Coyotes. But his numbers this season haven't been too great. Including the playoffs, Rinne has allowed three or more goals in five of the six contests he has played against Phoenix this season.
"I have to be better, no question, but also we have to be better as a team," Rinne said. "It always goes hand in hand. We've scored enough goals to win hockey games, just giving up too many right now."
-For the Predators, the special teams battle has come easy. With a 2-for-2 performance on the power play, they have already scored more goals with the man-advantage this series than they did against the Detroit Red Wings. But 5-on-5, Nashville has been outscored 8-3 overall, and that's where the issues are.
"We're not committed enough. We're committed on offense and not on defense," defenseman Shea Weber said. "We have to change that and be a lot better."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"They're playing well, they're executing and playing the kind of game we want to play and playing with the speed and getting pucks to the net and getting those rebounds and just executing." -- Goalie Pekka Rinne.