Shane Doan chipped in an empty-net goal and an assist as the Coyotes (1-1-1) capped their three-game road trip to open the season with their first victory.
Ryan Suter and Colin Wilson scored for Nashville (2-1-0), which started the night walking down a gold carpet into the arena as part of the festivities.
But an emotional video montage in memory of Wade Belak, the former NHL enforcer found dead in Toronto in August, seemed to sap the Predators despite a sellout crowd eager to cheer a team coming off its first run to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Predators had been 10-2-1-1 against Phoenix in Nashville since the start of the 2003-04 season and 16-9-1-2 overall.
Phoenix had more than enough goals after the first period after outshooting Nashville 16-7 in the first 20 minutes. Schlemko scored his first goal of the season from the left circle off a rebound, sending the puck under Pekka Rinne as the goalie sprawled to his left at 12:00. Whitney scored on a slap shot off an assist from Daymond Langkow 2:28 later, and Korpikoski made the score 3-0 with a backhander at 18:45.
Photo by Getty Images.
Suter's shorthanded goal on his own slap shot at 14:01 of the second seemed to jumpstart the Predators. David Legwand got his second assist, sliding the puck over to Wilson in the slot for his first goal of the season that cut the lead to 4-2 at 9:08 of the third.
The Predators outshot Phoenix 10-3 in the third and played with so much energy Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett took a timeout at 13:04. The Predators even got a power play when Martin Hanzal was called for holding the stick at 14:37, but they couldn't get anything else past goalie Jason LaBarbera, who made 23 saves in his first game of the season.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com compiled this recap.
Leading 4-2, Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera made an acrobatic save on a power-play, tip-in attempt by Nashville's Colin Wilson with 4:07 left in the game to help secure the victory.
• The Coyotes' next game is Saturday vs. Winnipeg at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 4 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"I think we just played a real solid game... I think now we are going in the right direction and we've already forgotten that game at San Jose (to start the season)."
"They were coming pretty hard with the score the way it was (in the third period), so I was glad our guys hung in there. (Jason) LaBarbera gave us a solid game and everybody contributed to this win. It was a good team win."
"The guys were skating really hard and we were getting pucks in deep and making their 'D' work and we were getting turnovers. And that's our identity; that's how we play."
• Oct. 13, 2011: PHX 5, NSH 2
• Dec. 6, 2011:
• Nov. 3, 2011:
• March 12, 2012:
1 - 0 PHX
2 - 0 PHX
3 - 0 PHX
4 - 0 PHX
4 - 1 PHX
4 - 2 PHX
5 - 2 PHX
Interference - Goalkeeper
Holding the stick