NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 14th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (6-5-2) at Nashville Predators (6-3-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Thanks to goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Nashville Predators don't need a whole lot of offense to win games.
Some would be nice though.
The Predators look to get their scoring on track Thursday evening when they play host to the Phoenix Coyotes, who already own a shutout victory over Nashville this season.
The Preds halted a two-game slide on Tuesday with a 1-0 overtime victory against the San Jose Sharks, getting the winner from Colin Wilson 2:08 into the extra frame after he tipped home Ryan Ellis' shot from up high.
With Nashville coming off a shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, Wilson's goal marked the first for the Preds since Paul Gaustad scored at the 10:11 mark of the first period in Friday's 2-1 overtime setback to the Minnesota Wild. The gap between goals was a franchise-record 176:18.
"I saw (Ellis) had (the puck), so I drove the middle. He took a shot and I got a tip on it," Wilson said.
Rinne kept Nashville in the game with 25 saves, recording his 27th career shutout and second in his last three starts. He moved to 5-3-3 on the season with a 1.75 goals against average and .934 save percentage.
The Predators have needed Rinne to be sharp as they sit last in the NHL with just 1.77 goals per game, but are still 5-1-1 in their last seven games. They now hope Wilson's tally will get things going as they play the third contest of a four-game homestand.
"I was kind of thinking about the shootout," said Rinne with a smile. "No, but obviously you realize that one shot can change the game and it was kind of just a knuckleball and I think (Wilson) got his stick on it and tipped it in. It was kind of a typical overtime goal, but obviously really happy to see that go in. It was a big win for us."
Nashville has been held scoreless three times this season, one of those a 4-0 loss in Phoenix on Jan. 28. Rinne was charged with all four goals on 25 shots.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, got goals from four different skaters and saw Chad Johnson notch the first shutout of his career with 21 saves. He was recalled from the AHL the previous week due to Mike Smith's groin injury, but has since been returned to the minor league club in Portland.
The victory improved the Coyotes to 4-1-1 in their past six versus the Predators and they have won three straight in Nashville.
After a slow start, Smith has allowed three goals or fewer in five of his six games since returning from injury. He has a pair of shutouts in that span and made a season-high 41 saves in Monday's 3-2 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche.
Shane Doan had the game-winner with 58.9 seconds left in the bonus frame. His second goal of the contest came after Colorado defenseman Greg Zanon had his clear attempt hit off a referee and right to Phoenix's Kyle Chipchura, who centered it to Doan to set up the goal.
"We were really lucky to get a bounce and fortunate to get those two points," said Doan. "I did not see how Kyle got it, all I know is he got it to my stick. This one is a testament to our reserve and how we battle through things."
Doan added an assist to his two-goal game after failing to log a point in each of his previous seven contests. Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for the Coyotes, who have won four of five and are 5-1-2 in their last eight.
Phoenix will try to finish off a perfect three-game road trip on Thursday.
02/14 10:20:31 ET