Found April 28, 2012 on PredsOnTheGlass:
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The opening game between the Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes lived up to everyone's expectations as two gritty teams, with tough defenses and solid goalies battled for sixty minutes with the inevitable overtime being required.

Ray Whitney scored off of an offensive zone faceoff at 14:04 in to overtime to give the Coyotes their first ever second round playoff victory.

The Predators had dominated all statistical categories for the third period and overtime until Whitney had the game winner.

The Predators regulation time goals came from Brandon Yip, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Marty Erat while the Coyotes goals came from Radim Vrbata, Rusty Klesla and Mikkel Boedker.

Pekka Rinne stopped 20 of 24 Coyote shots while Mike Smith had more work deflecting 39 of 42 Predator shots.

Game two will be on Sunday at 9 p.m CDT in Glendale at Jobing.com Arena.

Make the jump for all the details and stats from the game...


At The Puck Drop...

In Goal: Nashville - Pekka Rinne  (4-1-0, 1.81, .944) and Phoenix - Mike Smith  (4-2-0, 1.81, .950).

Scratches: Nashville - Jordin Tootoo, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk, Colin Wilson, Jack Hillen, Ryan Ellis and Chet Pickard. Phoenix - Connor Murphy, David Schlemko, Paul Bissonnette, Chris Summers, Andy Miele, Michael Stone, Matt Watkins, Raffi Torres, Brett MacLean, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Alexandre Bolduc, Brett Hextall, Ethan Werek, Maxim Goncharov, Jordan Szwarz, Justin Pogge, and Louis Domingue.

First Period...

Hal Gil got their first start of the playoffs after missing six games with a foot injury..

There was tough defense on both ends to start the game. The ice seemed slightly tilted in the Coyotes direction with the Predators on defense more than not. The only good scoring chance early was was by Gilbert Brule 2:02 into the contest.

Phoenix got the first power play of the game at 6:26 when Kevin Klien was called for tripping as he tried to to stop Lauri Korpikoski who stole the puck and was on a breakaway. The Yotes wen up 1-0 when Vrbata somehow wedged the puck over Rinne's right shoulder into the net as he tried to deflect it. Ray Whitney and Oliver Ekman-Larsson assisted.

The Predators got their chance on the man advantage at 11:22 when Vrbata high sticked Paul Gaustad. The Preds only got one shot on the man advantage.

Nashville tied the game 1-1 at 14:09 on a fortuitous bounce off the corner stanchion on a dump in that went straight to Yip who was skating through the slot and got a free shot at the empty side of the Phoenix net. Frankie Bouillon and Craig Smith got the freebie assists.

The Coyotes went back on the man advantage at 15:43 when Ryan Suter tripped Shane Doan in the Predator slot. Phoenix did not get any shots on their power play.

1st Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        1        9        18       2-4:00 5-18  22%Coyotes           1        8        19       1-2:00 18-5  78%
Second Period...

Phoenix took a 2-1 lead at 3:05 in the period when Daymond Langkow found Rusty Klesla who put the puck past Rinne as he was moving through the slot. Adrian Aucoin also assisted on the play.

Nashville went on the power play at 6:11 when Martin Hanzal elbowed Nick Spaling. The Preds did not get a shot on the man advantage.

The Predators tied the game 2-2 on a hard working goal by the forward group as they were all crashing the net and Andrei Kostitsyn picked up the loose puck to put it past Smith. Patric Hornqvist and Bouillon assisted.

Shane Doan stood up to Yip in a little tussle at 13:38 after Yip traded stick taps with a Coyote player. No penalties resulted.

Rinne's save of the game came at 15:51 when he stopped a shot by Whitney off of a great feed from Antoine Vermette.

Phoenix jumped ahead again 3-2 at 16:27 when the Yotes got a two on one (Klein) rush on Rinne after a turnover and Boedker fired a laser into the net. Rinne was not pleased as he slammed his stick on the ice.

The Predators had a great scoring chance at 18:20 when Smith stoned Erat on a deflection from the slot. Bourque also had a great scoring chance with 54 seconds left when his wrister was deflected by Smith.

The period ended with a penalty call against Vermette for holding Andrei Kostitsyn. The Preds will open the third period on the power play.

2nd Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        1        9        20       0-0:00 9-13  41%Coyotes          2        9        15       2-4:00 13-9  59%
Third Period...

The Predators started the period on the full two minute carry-over power play. Smith took exception to Hornqvists's aggressiveness around the net and came out fighting at one point. The Preds had three shots on the man advantage but had nothing to show for it.

The Preds put multiple shots on Smith from the slot at 2:30 after the power play ended but he stopped them all.

Rinne was called for interference at 2:47 when he held Whitney behind the net. Yip served the penalty. Phoenix did not get a shot but the Predators had a short-handed shot.

Vrbata was called for delay of game at 6:29 to send the Predators back on the man-advantage. The Preds had only a shot by Hornqvist on the power play as the Yotes penalty kill held firm.

Phoenix did not get a get a shot on goal in the period until 12:07 when Rinne made a spectacular save moving to his right on a shot from Hanzal. The Predators had eight shots in the period at that point.

A play was reviewed at 13:36 when video appeared to show the puck crossed the line off of a shot from Roman Josi, but it was ruled that the whistle had blown.

The Predators went on the  at 14:57 when Boyd Gordon held the stick of Erat. Erat then scored the game tying power play goal off of a rebound on a Ryan Suter shot to make it 3-3 at 15:18. Hornqvist also was battling for the rebound and was credited with an assist.

3rd  Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        1        16        24       1-2:00 9-8  53%Coyotes        0         1         8       2-4:00 8-9  47%
Overtime...

Nashville continued their third period dominance for the early part of the overtime period. Phoenix did not get their first shot until Hanzal's at 13:01 when the Predators had four.

Shea Weber uncorked a slapper at 9:08 that forced Smith to make a great save.

Sergei Kostitsyn was hit in the face by a clearing pass at 12:50 and had to leave momentarily but was able to return.

Whitney was the overtime hero as Phoenix continued their miracle finishes. Hanzal won the face off and got the puck to Whitney as he moved toward the Predator net and flipped the puck past Rinne for the win at 14:04.

Overtime       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        0        9        15       0-0:00 6-3  67%Coyotes        1        6         6       0-0:00 3-6  33%
Final...

Final     Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  Predators        3        42        77       3-6:00 29-42  41%Coyotes        4        24        48      5-10:00 42-19  59%
More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass
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