By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to take a 2-0 series lead in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Nashville Predators tonight at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix will look to build off momentum gained when it beat Nashville, 4-3 in overtime, in Game 1 on Friday.
Despite the win - their first ever for the franchise in the second round of a Stanley Cup Playoff series - the Coyotes recognize the Predators outplayed them in the latter stages of Game 1.
“This game is huge,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan
said. “Everyone talks about the second and third games of every series and how big they are. We’ve got to find a way to win this next one. We didn’t play bad (in Game 1), we didn’t play great, (but) we found a way to win and we’ve got to do it again. I don’t care how. I’d love to be talking (after Game 2) about how we didn’t play great but we found a way to win again. It would be fine by me as long as we keep finding ways to win.”
Coyotes forward Daymond Langkow
agrees with Doan.
"We've got to be better because sooner or later it's going to cost us," Langkow said. "We sit back in the third, we've had leads -- we just need to be more aggressive. We just sat back and you can't do that against a good team like that."
, who has stopped 268 of the 283 shots he's faced in seven games in the playoffs, will be back in goal for the Coyotes in Game 2.
The Coyotes dominated the Predators in the face-off circle in Game 1, winning 46 of 78 draws. The last win was by center Martin Hanzal
and it led to Ray Whitney
's game-winning goal.
"All their centers are really good," Predators center Mike Fisher said. "We have to find a way to be better in that area and win more battles."
|Photo by Norm Hall
Nashville Head Coach Barry Trotz said his team looked rusty in Game 1 after a weeklong layoff.
"We have a couple of areas we have to tighten up," Trotz said. "But we got three (goals) and they got four. We should make sure we win the game when we get three. We had lots of chances, but they found ways to keep it out of the net.”
Nashville forward Alexander Radulov, who was held without a shot in Game 1, said the Predators are confident they can even the series.
"Their goalie played a huge game (on Friday) and he made big saves in the third period and overtime and that's what we have to battle through," Radulov said. "We have to make things harder on him. We tried hard and he was good, maybe in some areas, a little bit lucky. “
Pekka Rinne will be back in goal for the Predators.
• Gilbert Brule
• Derek Morris
• Taylor Pyatt
• Keith Yandle