Originally posted on PredsOnTheGlass  |  Last updated 5/2/12
The Nashville Predators played "Predator" hockey as they closed ranks and defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 in game three of the Western Conference semifinals.

Pekka Rinne garnered his first career playoff shutout as he stopped all 32 Phoenix shots.

Playing without Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, the remaining players made up the difference and more as Nashville played the best game of the playoffs to date.

The Predators scored twice, 66 seconds apart, midway through the first period, and then shut down Phoenix with stellar defense the rest of the way. Goals from David Legwand and Mike Fisher was all Nashville needed in closing the gap  in the series to 2-1 with the Coyotes having the advantage.

Mike Smith stopped 24 of 26 Predator shots, taking the loss.

Game four in the series will return to Bridgestone Arena on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CDT.

Make the jump for all the details...


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 Bissonnette, Chris Summers, Andy Miele, Michael Stone, Lauri Korpikoski, Matt Watkins, Raffi Torres, Brett MacLean, Alexandre Bolduc, Brett Hextall, Ethan Werek, Maxim Goncharov, Jordan Szwarz, Justin Pogge, and Louis Domingue.

First Period...

The revamped line-ups looked similar to the ones prior to the trade deadline without Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn. Hal Gill and Paul Gaustad would be the only additions in the line-up.

The Smashville crowd was as loud as ever and appeared to enjoy seeing Jordin Tootoo in the line-up with plenty of Tootoo whistles ringing out.

The Predators went on their first man advantage at 5:04 when Marc-Antoine Pouliot held Colin Wilson's stick. The Preds were unimpressive, getting only one shot while giving up two short-handed shots.

The Predators got on the board first at 8:10 when Smith left his net to play the puck and could not get back to defend as the puck was turned over to Gabriel Bourque who made a feed to Legwand who scored.

Sixty-six seconds later, Marty Erat stole the puck in the Predator offensive zone and passed it to Sergei Kostitsyn in the slot, who fed it to Fisher who then banked the puck into the net off of Smith's stick to give Nashville a 2-0 lead.

Phoenix went on their first power play at 11:04 when Fisher was called for interference on Martin Hanzal. Phoenix did not get a shot while the Preds has a couple of chances on turnovers while short-handed.

Another Predator goal was blown off at 13:49 when the play was blown dead prematurely. Video replay clearly showed the whistle blew after Smith let the puck leak into the net on the Legwand shot.

Legwand was whistled for hooking Antoine Vermette at 15:39 to put Phoenix on the man-advantage. With 10 seconds left in the penalty. Derek Morris hooked Mike Fisher to give the Preds a power play opportunity. The Coyotes had the best opportunities with a pair of short-handed shots in the odd man situation.

1st Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        2         8        13       2-4:00 13-11 54%Coyotes           0        10        20       2-4:00 11-13 46%
Second Period...

The Predators went on the power play at 5:58 when Adrian Aucoin was called for interference when he tripped Matt Halischuk sending him into a hard collision with the boards. Halischuk went straight to the dressing room. The Preds got a shot but no goals.

Hanzal took a hard hit from Fisher at 9:03 and he cringed as he left the ice.

Rinne made a pair of saves at 11:12 that were easily the saves of the game.

Halischuk returned to the ice for a shift at 14:11.

Nashville went back on the power play at 15:18 when Morris cross-checked Erat. Boyd Gordon left the game during the man-advantage after taking a Shea Weber shot to the arm. The Predators got a great scoring chance but did not not score.

2nd Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        0         8        18       0-0:00 8-7  53%Coyotes          0        12        18       2-4:00 7-8  47%
Third Period...

The Predators started the final period with determination. One shift, a minute in by Colin Wilson, Brandon Yip, and Nick Spaling was outstanding.

Jordin Tootoo had his best shift of the playoffs about seven minutes into the period, registering a hit, a shot, and excellent puck control.

After delivering a huge hit om Morris and not being called for a penalty, Tootoo was nailed by Morris behind the Phoenix net drawing a cross-checking penalty. The Preds registered four shots on the man-advantage.

Phoenix went on the power play at 12:59 when Kostitsyn was called for hooking Shane Doan. With 41 seconds remaining in the penalty, Erat tripped Oliver Ekman-Larsson to give the Coyotes a five on three situation. Phoenix got three shots five on four and two five on three as Rinne made a series of saves of the playoffs.

Phoenix came out with the empty net after a time out with 2:02 left in order to have an extra attacker. Legwand missed a long shot at the empty net at 18:28.

3rd  Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        0        10        14       2-4:00 10-11 48%Coyotes        0        10        22       1-2:00 11-10 52%
Final...

Final     Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        2        26        45       4-8:00 31-29 52%Coyotes        0        32        60      5-10:00 29-31 48%
More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass
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