Posted May 03, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Detroit Red Wings
Pekka Rinne made 32 saves as he returned to his dominating form, Mike Fisher scored his first goal of these playoffs, and the Nashville Predators found their rhythm with a 2-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series.
After giving up nine goals on the road as the Predators fell behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven matchup, Rinne was rarely challenged by the lackluster Coyotes. He helped the Predators overcome the team suspensions of forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn.
Phoenix still leads 2-1 in the series that will continue with Game 4 in Music City on Friday.
David Legwand and Fisher capitalized on mistakes and scored 76 seconds apart midway through the first period. Rinne, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy given to the NHL's top goalie, made the goals stand up.
Though Phoenix outshot Nashville early, Rinne wasn't tested much. He had a shot go off the post in the first period and saw heavier traffic in the crease as the Coyotes shook off a sluggish start. He never faltered after giving up five goals in Sunday's 5-3 Game 2 loss - the Predators' worst performance of the postseason.
Phoenix had its team-record streak of three consecutive road playoff wins and a run of three straight wins in Nashville overall snapped. The Coyotes had given up just four goals on the road in the playoffs coming into Wednesday.
The change of venue seemed to energize Rinne and the Predators. With Charlie Daniels laying down a scorching version of ''Devil Went Down to Georgia'' and fans tossing catfish on the ice, Nashville got back into the ''hockey tonkin''' vibe that lifted them to a milestone series victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the first round.
Legwand brought out the catfish midway through the first period when he capitalized on goalie Mike Smith's mistake as he cleared the puck behind the net. Gabriel Bourque beat a defender to the puck in the left corner and centered a pass to Legwand, who wristed the puck past Smith at 8:10.
Fisher - Mr. Carrie Underwood for those who aren't country music fans - followed that just over a minute later with a wrist shot past Smith. Martin Erat started the chance by forcing a turnover in the right corner. He centered the puck to Sergei Kostitsyn, who passed up an open shot to feed Fisher for the 2-0 lead at 9:16.
Legwand also had an apparent goal waved off later in the period. Phoenix had just one serious scoring chance in the first period, and put a shot off the post. The Coyotes held a 10-8 shots advantage in the first 20 minutes.
Without Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, who were suspended for violating unspecified team rules, Nashville figured to lose some offensive power, but the defense more than made up for it.
Rinne finished off the game by turning away several shots during a tense 41 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey late in the third period after penalties on Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn. He also stood tall after the Coyotes pulled Smith in the final 2 minutes for an extra skater.
Notes: It is unclear when Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn will return. Predators coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday morning that he might keep the same lineup for Game 4. ... Bourque extended his Predators' rookie playoff record to five points. ... Legwand has 10 points in his last 12 playoff games. ... Fisher leads the Predators with 38 career postseason points.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators announced on Tuesday that forwards Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn -- who rank first and tied for second in points during the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the team -- will sit out Game 3 on Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena for an unspecified violation of team rules.
"The Nashville Predators have a few simple rules centered around doing the right...
The Nashville Predators, already down 2-0 to the Coyotes in the Western Conference semifinals, suffered another two losses on Tuesday with the announcement that wings Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn have been suspended for Wednesday's Game 3 in Nashville because of unspecified team rules violations.
The Nashville Predators have a few simple rules centered around doing...
NASHVILLE The Nashville Predators seemed to be dancing on the razor's edge entering Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinal series with Phoenix on Wednesday.
A day earlier, they had suspended their two top scorers in the playoffs, Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, for a violation of team rules, as the Preds had fallen down 0-2 in the series.
Had the Predators not responded...
Trotz: "Can I get a high five, ref?", Lambert: "I never get high fives..."
Two games in Phoenix, two losses and a team that was searching for it’s identity that had led them to this situation in the first place. One game in Nashville? One dominating win from a team that re-kindled hope in it’s fanbase and proved that their identity was still there, it was...
According to USA Today’s Kevin Allen, Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz is hoping that he can extend Alexander Radulov and Sergei Kostitsyn’s stints in the press box:
“Tonight if we get it done then I would expect we would go back to the same group,” Trotz said Wednesday morning.
Trotz also volunteered Wednesday morning that the Predators didn’t know before Game 2...
He doesn’t get fired up very often. So, when he does, you pay attention.
Both Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn have been suspended from game three (with the option for game four) for violation of a team rule. Numerous reports have Radulov and Kostitsyn in a Scottsdale, Arizona bar the early morning of game two in Glendale. This has led to some to wonder how the team could...
In Detroit they throw octopi onto the ice but down in Hockeytown South, the Nashville Predators fans apparently feel that throwing catfish onto the ice is an appropriate way of showing their support. I don't get it myself but hey, what do I know.Early into the third period of the Predators game 3 matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes a first catfish was hurled onto the ice. One of...
At The Puck Drop...In Goal: Nashville - Pekka Rinne (4-3-1, 2.51, .919) and Phoenix - Mike Smith (6-2-2, 2.03, .943).Scratches: Nashville - Jon Blum, Craig Smith, Chris Mueller, Brian McGrattan, Kyle Wilson, Jack Hillen, Andrei Kostitsyn, Alexander Radulov, Victor Bartley, Ryan Ellis, Jeremy Smith, and Chet Pickard.Phoenix - David Runblad, Connor Murphy, David Schlemko, Paul...
For the first time in this series, the Nashville Predators played Predator hockey and what do you know?
Without team-suspended forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn at their disposal, the Preds got back to their identity and beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 in front of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena. Phoenix now leads the series 2-1.
Pekka Rinne turned in 32 saves for his...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Maybe you got a little drunk on the possibilities. Maybe we all did. After 15 years of waiting, this was uncharted territory for Valley hockey fans. Who knew what to expect or how to act?
The Coyotes were on a roll, they had a 2-0 series lead for the first time since moving to the Valley, Nashville was playing without two stars and Phoenix fans were thinking sweep...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, I expect a much better effort from the Preds on Wednesday night. They deviated from their game in Phoenix. Perhaps because most people picked them to win the series, I feel like the Preds tried to put on a show in Phoenix instead of playing Predators hockey, which is a defense-first philosophy.
By benching Radulov and Kostitsyn, two late-season additions...
Game four between the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes has a special start time of 6:30 p.m. CDT so time is off the essence in planing your pre-game activities.Few tickets remain and you best chance may be the 10 a.m. day of game lottery. Minimal tickets will be available at the Bridgestone Arena box office. This offer is very limited (50 pairs, 100 total tickets)...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. We've all seen what happens in pro sports when the inmates are allowed to run the asylum.
One of the most glaring recent examples is that of the 2011 Boston Red Sox. After a historic collapse that kept them from making the playoffs, it was revealed that numerous pitchers would sit in the clubhouse during games, drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing...
I hinted at some issues this morning, but the word is out now that Alex Radulov and AK47 broke curfew the night before game 2. According to John Shannon of Sportsnet the two were spotted in Scottsdale Arizona at 4am. (who do they think they play for? Ottawa?) (just a little joke)
I for one completely applaud Barry Trotz and the Preds for making this bold move amidst the playoffs...
The Nashville Predators are trailing in this best-of-7 series to the Phoenix Coyotes, 2-1. In Game 3, the Predators were able to bounce back by winning the game 2-0 and cutting the lead in half. Nashville will attempt to tie the series up at 2-2, Friday night in a rocking Smashville! Puck drops at 6:40 PM CT!
TV/Radio CoverageCoverage in Nashville: 102.5 The GameCoverage in Glendale...