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Predators-Coyotes GAME 5

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Predators-Coyotes GAME 5
Nashville Predators vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will try to secure the franchise’s first berth in the Western Conference Finals tonight when they host the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their best-of-seven playoff series at Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix, which has won 12 of its past 15 games dating to the regular season, leads the series 3-1, and can eliminate the Preds with a victory on home ice.

“I think it’s going to be a very competitive game,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “Again, space is going to be tight. You know that they win or go home, or we win and move on. So, both teams will be desperate in the fact that it’s a ‘must win,’ but every game in the playoffs is a ‘must win’ almost. So, we recognize what their situation is, but we also recognize that if we can get a win we can move on. So, both teams should be of the same emotional level.”

Mike Smith, who has stopped 118 of the 126 shots he has faced so far in the conference semifinals, will start in goal for the Coyotes.

"We’ve got to find a way to take care of business," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We’ve talked about how this has to be our best game of the series.”

Phoenix will play minus defenseman Rostislav Klesla, whom the NHL on Sunday suspended for one game for his hit on Nashville’s Matt Halischuk in Game 4. David Schlemko will replace Klesla - who ranks tied for fourth on the team in playoff points with six.

“It’s a good opportunity for myself and for our team," Schlemko said. "I think we all know we want to get it done tonight. We had the same situation last round and hopefully we could take a little from that and get the job done tonight.”

Should the Coyotes win tonight they would advance to the Western Confrefernce Finals. The Los Angeles Kings already have clicnhed a spot in that series and are awaiting the winner of this one.

Forward Mikkel Boedker said the Coyotes cannot afford to start thinking about playing LA in the next round.

“You watch all the other series, not just the other one in our conference, but the other ones out East, too,” Boedker said. “But we can’t look forward to that now, we still have to win one more and that’s what we’re looking for now and we can’t think about the other series."

Photo by Norm Hall
Down 3-1 in the series, Nashville is flirting with elimination from the playoffs.

"There's nowhere to hide. It is what it is," Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "I think during the series we've played well but not well enough to be up 3-1. We haven't buried our chances when we've had lots of chances. We put ourselves in this position, and we've got to dig ourselves out."

Forwards Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, who were suspended by the Preds for Game 3 and then scratched for Game 4, are expected to return to the lineup tonight.

Pekka Rinne will start in goal for the Predators, who have collected a franchise-record five goals on 14 road power-play opportunities this postseason, including three goals on seven attempts at Arena thus far.

Who's Hot
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has a 1.90 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage in this series, and is the only NHL netminder with two shutouts in the playoffs.
Predators center David Legwand scored a goal in Game 3 and co-leads the team with three playoff goals.
Did You Know?
  • The team that has scored the first goal of the game has won every game in this series.

  • Coyotes captain Shane Doan will play in his 50th career NHL playoff game tonight.

  • Game 5 will be televised on NBC Sports Network and will be broadcast on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 7 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 27 '12 NSH 3 at PHX 4 - OT R. Whitney
Apr 29 '12 NSH 3 at PHX 5 T. Pyatt
May 02 '12 PHX 0 at NSH 2 D. Legwand
May 04 '12 PHX 1 at NSH 0 S. Doan
May 07 '12 NSH 1 at PHX 2 M. Hanzal
D. Legwand10336+31012
A. Radulov8156+2400
G. Bourque10325+0401
A. Kostitsyn8314+3200
K. Klein10224-2201
P. Hornqvist10134+1210
M. Erat10134-1610
R. Suter10134-3410
M. Fisher10134-4800
S. Weber10213-1910
F. Bouillon10033+7200
N. Spaling10033+4000
P. Gaustad10112-1500
B. Yip10112-1600
S. Kostitsyn10112-3401
C. Wilson4101+1000
M. Halischuk5011+1400
C. Smith2011-1000
R. Josi10000-41000
H. Gill5000+2000
R. Ellis3000+2000
J. Tootoo3000+0400
J. Hillen2000+1200
P. Rinne105-5212962.07.929
A. Vermette11549+11030
M. Boedker11347+4002
R. Klesla10257+1400
K. Yandle11077+6400
S. Doan11336+5801
R. Whitney11246+2601
M. Hanzal8325+31002
D. Langkow11055+3200
T. Pyatt11314-3201
R. Vrbata11224-2610
O. Ekman-Larsson11134+1211
G. Brule10213+2000
D. Morris11123+31200
K. Chipchura10123+4700
R. Torres3112+2200
B. Gordon11022-1400
A. Aucoin10022+4800
M. Pouliot5011+1200
M. Rozsival10000-2000
L. Korpikoski6000-1000
D. Schlemko3000+1000
P. Bissonnette2000+01500
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