for this game

Coyotes down Preds, take 2-0 series lead

Apr 30, 2012 - 6:40 AM
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - The Coyotes didn't need Mike Smith's heroics on Sunday as the offense vaulted Phoenix to a 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of this Western Conference semifinal.

Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette each tallied a goal and an assist and the Coyotes are halfway towards advancing to their first conference final in franchise history.

Martin Hanzal and Taylor Pyatt also lit the lamp, while Keith Yandle and Ray Whitney each added a pair of helpers for Phoenix, which took a 2-0 series edge with Game 3 slated for Wednesday in Nashville.

Smith, who has registered a .940 save percentage so far in eight postseason games, made 29 saves.

"Tonight was a big one," said Doan. "We realized that we didn't play as well as we wanted to in (Game 1) and we found a way to win. Tonight is more indicative of our team."

Ryan Suter had a goal and an assist, while Andrei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist also scored for Nashville.

Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne stopped 34-of-39 shots in defeat.

"I have to be better, no question, but also we have to be better as a team," said Rinne.

With the game tied 1-1 after a period of play, the Coyotes exploded for three tallies in the second stanza and held a two-goal advantage heading into the final frame.

Vrbata raced down the left wing before carrying the puck past the left side of the net. He slid a pass between the pads of Rinne for Hanzal, who tapped it home for a 2-1 Phoenix lead at the 3:47 mark of the period.

The Coyotes made it 3-1 a little over three minutes later. From behind the Predators net, a loose puck was batted by David Legwand into the crease and Vrbata was there to wrist it into the back of the net.

Nashville responded and cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 11:20 mark on the power play as Ryan Suter's shot from the right point was re-directed in by Hornqvist.

But Phoenix regained its two-goal margin just 30 seconds later as Pyatt put home a rebound to make it 4-2.

The Predators took advantage of a 4-on-3 power play 53 seconds into the third period as Suter's one-timer from the top of the right circle soared past Smith's glove, cutting the deficit to one.

The Coyotes, though, had the answer once again as Doan deflected Derek Morris' right-point shot past Rinne for a 5-3 margin at the 3:36 mark.

Smith, who's been so instrumental to the Coyotes' success towards the end of the regular season and playoffs, stood tall in net down the stretch.

Earlier, Phoenix struck for the first tally for the fifth straight contest as Vermette buried a one-timer into the back of the net near the midway point of the opening frame.

Kostitsyn tied the score near the end of the stanza. While falling to the ice, Kevin Klein made a spinning backhanded pass to Kostitsyn, who lifted the disc past Rinne's blocker.

Game Notes

The Coyotes did not go into overtime for just the second time in eight postseason contests...The Coyotes outshot their opponent for the first time in these playoffs...Phoenix was 0-for-2 on the power play while Nashville converted on each of its two chances on the man advantage...Coyotes defenseman Rotislav Klesla left the game just 33 seconds in after taking a puck to the face.