Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 4/29/12

With Nashville’s 5-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday night, the Predators are down 2-0 in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

For the second game in a row, Phoenix opened scoring. At 8:32 into the first period, former Columbus Blue Jacket, Antoine Vermette beat Pekka Rinne for his fifth goal of the postseason.

The Predators were able to even up the score when Kevin Klein’s pass found Andrei Kostitsyn who walked in all alone on Mike Smith, beating the Coyotes netminder with just 2:47 left to play in the opening frame.

With 6 of their first 7 playoff contests going to overtime this postseason, Phoenix was able to break away from their opponent for only the second time during the playoffs. Scoring three second-period goals, the Coyotes were able to put Nashville away before the puck dropped on the final frame.

The Phoenix “prime line” of Martin Hanzal, Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata took over, scoring two goals in the first 7:05 of the middle frame, making it 3-1 Coyotes.

The Predators were able to pull within one when Patric Hornqvist scored on the power play at 11:20 of the second period, when a shot from the point by Ryan Suter went off the leg of the right wing who was firmly positioned in front of Smith, but Taylor Pyatt reestablished the Phoenix two-goal lead just 30 seconds later.

Nashville ended the second period by showing its frustration when Keith Yandle was called for slashing Mike Fisher. In turn, Fisher retaliated after the initial call was made and was also sent to the box for roughing, thus negating a potential power play for the Predators to begin the third period.

Nashville would get that power play, however, when Vrbata was called for interference just 22 seconds into the final frame. Despite an early third period goal on the man advantage from Ryan Suter, Nashville was unable to get back into the game.

Phoenix Captain Shane Doan scored less than three minutes after Suter, allowing the Coyotes to regain the two goal lead for the second time.

With the 5-3 win over Nashville, Phoenix leads the Predators 2-0 after the first two games.

The Predators will need to take advantage of home ice if they hope to get back into the series by winning both home games next week at Bridgestone Arena. Game 3 will be Wednesday night in Nashville.

 

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