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Brilliant Save by Bryzgalov
Gretzky Press Conference
Gretzky Press Conference
Tickets: vs. Blues on 2/28
NASHVILLE – Ilya Bryzgalov matched his career-high by making 43 saves on Thursday night, but his performance couldn’t keep the Nashville Predators from beating the Coyotes 4-1 at the Sommet Center.
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski scored his sixth goal at 11:04 of the second period to even the score at 1. Fifty-four seconds later, however, Nashville regained the momentum for good when Jason Arnott scored an unassisted goal after a defensive-zone turnover by Jovanovski.
The Predators, who entered the game as the second-lowest scoring team in the league, added two goals in the third period and won their third consecutive game.
Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky did not like his team’s effort, especially in the third period when Nashville scored an easy goal on a four-on-one rush.
“Our effort was not very good, and it’s something we have to address and get it out of our locker room,” Gretzky said. “The first period (score) would have been 5-0 had it not been for our goaltender.”
Bryzgalov stopped 18 of 19 shots in the first period to keep the Coyotes in the game. His only mistake came at 13:29 after Nashville forward J.P. Dumont intercepted a pass by Coyotes defenseman Kurt Sauer deep in Phoenix’s zone and passed the puck to teammate Steve Sullivan, who beat Bryzgalov top shelf from Bryzgalov’s left side.
Coyotes defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Derek Morris also helped limit Nashville to one goal in the first period by clearing loose pucks out of the crease.
Nashville center David Legwand nearly gave the Predators a 2-0 lead within the first minute of the middle period, but his shot on goal hit a post and bounced away. The Predators had another nice scoring chance less than five minutes later when Arnott and Dumont raced toward Bryzgalov on an odd-man rush. Dumont shot’s from in close hit the right side of the net.
The Coyotes put 26 shots on Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, but the rookie was solid in net and earned his 19th victory.
"Tonight was a pretty easy game for me," Rinne told reporters. "They didn't have too many good scoring chances or anything like that. I don't think they were ready to go at the beginning of the game, and we took advantage of it. We really showed that we wanted these points, and there's no question about tonight's game who the better team was."
• Forward Daniel Carcillo hit the left post with a shot from the left circle with 12:34 left in the second period.
• Coyotes forward Joakim Lindstrom had a five-game point streak snapped.
• Nashville center Martin Erat fired a game-high nine shots on goal. Morris led the Coyotes with five.
• Thursday’s game was Nashville’s 800th as an NHL franchise.
• Nashville improved to 6-2-1 at home in February, including two victories over the Coyotes.
• Defenseman Keith Yandle and forward Enver Lisin were healthy scratches for Phoenix. Nashville scratched defenseman Ville Koistinen and center Radek Bonk.