The Arizona Coyotes needed to get back on track, but knew that their opponents, the Nashville Predators, would be no easy task. However, they prevailed in overtime, claiming the 3-2 shoot out victory.
Coyotes score first in the first
Nashville came out and dominated play early with Ryan Johansen and Mike Ribeiro both having excellent chances to score. Ribeiro hit the right post with his break-in on the left wing.
The Coyotes scored the first goal of the game at 9:17 with Christian Dvorak registering his first NHL goal. As he broke in on the right side, he pulled the defense towards him and was able to put a nifty back-hander by Pekka Rinne to give the hometown team the lead. Ryan White and Alex Goligoski got helpers.
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The Predators got that goal back at 17:55 when Matt Irwin deflected a shot from the left point by Yannick Weber to tie the game. Unpopular Ribeiro was booed every time he touched the puck. His departure from the Coyotes was not a pleasant one, and the wounds are still evident.
The Coyotes were called for three penalties and managed to kill them all off. Nashville throw 18 shots at Louis Domingue, and the Coyotes were fortunate to come out tied at the end of one period. The Coyotes only managed six shots on goal, but one found the back of the net.
Second period penalties burned the Coyotes
Nashville had numerous power play opportunities, and cashed in at 16:35 when Craig Smith scored his fifth of the year with a pretty pass from P.K. Subban to give the visiting Nashville hockey club the lead for the first time.
The Nashville power play unit came through even though the Coyotes' penalty kill unit did all they could do to prevent it.
The Coyotes penalty killers headed by Jordan Martinook and Brad Richardson are skilled at what to do. Martinook hounds the puck holder until he makes a pass, or he steals the puck. Richardson keeps his stick in the passing lane to prevent the advancing opponent from making a good pass.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes penalty killers got tired from all the work they had to go through from their undisciplined play. Jamie McGinn's penalty, which gave the Predators the man advantage was a boarding call, and Cody Bass of the Predators took exception to McGinn's hit, and started to get into it with him. In the end, McGinn sat, and Nashville scored the go-ahead goal.
Third period decider that never happened
The Coyotes came out storming reminiscent of the way they played in the second period against San Jose. They peppered Rinne for three shots early to let the Preds know they didn't intend on handing them the game.
Their hard work paid off when Max Domi charged the net, and shot on goal with Dvorak and Duclair punching away at the rebound. Duclair was able to get it through traffic to finally end his scoring drought, with his first goal of the season. Needless to say his was euphoric with joy.
Domi now has seven assists in 10 games, but has yet to score. The "Killer D's" who were phenomenal last season were on the ice together for this game more than usual.
At 10:28 the Preds got called for interference assessed to Kevin Fiala, giving the Coyotes a power play. Unfortunately they didn't cash in on the chance and the game remained knotted at two.
The Preds had their own power play chance when Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for holding at 14:28. The Coyotes' penalty kill had to hold again. The Yotes were able to hold off Nashville's assault.
Now it became a game of who made the first mistake to decide the game.
That didn't happen, so this game went into overtime.
The play was dominated by Nashville, who seemed content with just holding the puck and not taking shots unless they were high percentage.
Radim Vrbata got called for hooking giving the Preds yet another power play to try and finish off the Coyotes. It was 4-on 3 for the last 1:39 of play. Domingue made some good saves to keep Arizona's hopes of getting two points out of this game.
The entire overtime was played in the Coyotes' end, and their lack of puck control was evident. They weren't able to manage one shot on net, as Nashville controlled the play.
The overtime ended, still tied, so the game went to the first shootout of the season for the Coyotes.
Shootout was sensational
Duclair - scored on a slick backhander as he faked Rinne.
Filip Forsberg for Nashville - missed
Vrbata - scored a goal on his classic backhand shot past Rinne.
Johansen for Nashville - missed as he almost came to a complete stop, but was stymied by Domingue.
Key to the game
The Coyotes' penalty kill was successful on seven of eight attempts by Nashville, and the goaltending by Domingue was exceptional, earning him the first star of the game award.
The Coyotes travel to Anaheim for a game tomorrow night. The team enjoyed some success against the Ducks last season by winning three of five from them. They have some momentum now, winning three of four at home. Now, they need to work on their road record.