By BOB BAUM, Associated Press
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Antoine Vermette and Martin Hanzal each had a goal and an assist, and the Phoenix Coyotes avoided their usual overtime theatrics, beating the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
Pyatt also scored for the Coyotes. Ryan Suter, Patric Hornqvist and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Predators.
Phoenix scored three times on 19 second-period shots. The Coyotes built a two-goal lead early in the second period. Nashville twice cut it to one only to see Phoenix quickly respond.
The Coyotes did not go into overtime for only the second time in eight playoff games.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Nashville for Game 3 on Wednesday night.
Keith Yandle had two assists for Phoenix. Ray Whitney, who scored in overtime in Phoenix's 4-3 victory in Game 1 on Friday night, had one.
After being outshot 42-24 in Game 1, the Coyotes had a playoff-high 39 shots to Nashville's 33 in Game 2.
With its offensive production, Phoenix didn't need to lean on goalie Mike Smith's heroics quite so much. Smith had 30 saves to 34 for Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
The Coyotes, in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the franchise moved from Winnipeg in 1996, built a 3-1 lead with goals by Hanzal and Vrbata early in the second period.
The Predators cut it to 3-2 when Hornqvist redirected Suter's shot into the net with 5 seconds left on a power play with 8:40 left in the second.
Thirty seconds later, Rinne deflected Doan's shot, but the puck bounced right to Pyatt, who scored to make it 4-2.
Again, Nashville came back.
The Predators took advantage of a 4-on-3 situation to score on Suter's shot from the left circle 53 seconds into the third period to cut the Coyotes' lead to 4-3.
Just 2:43 later, Phoenix responded. The Coyotes won a faceoff in the Nashville end, Vermette took a shot and Doan deflected it in to make it 5-3 with 16:24 remaining.
For the start, Phoenix mounted offensive pressure, breaking through with Vermette's goal with 11:28 left in the opening period. Mikkel Boedker controlled the puck, then got it to Yandle, who fired a pass from the right circle in front of the net, where Vermette tapped it in for his team-high fifth goal of the playoffs.
Nashville tied it late in the period after a brilliant assist from Kevin Klein, who, as he was knocked to the ice by Adrian Aucoin, extended his stick to flip the puck to Kostitsyn on a breakaway. Kostitsyn slipped the puck past Smith's right into the net with 2:47 remaining.
Phoenix took the lead for good at lead 2-1 3:47 into the second period with another nice assist. This time, Vrbata brought the puck down the center of the ice, and took it behind the Nashville net. From there, he passed it into the crease where Hanzal got a stick on it and the puck slipped between Rinne's legs for the score.
Vrbata, Phoenix's leading goal scorer in the regular season, got his second of the playoffs, scoring after Whitney's shot was deflected far in front of the net to make it 3-1 7:05 into the second period.
Notes: Nashville had two penalty kills. ... The Coyotes acquired Vermette from Columbus on Feb. 22 for a pair of draft picks and a minor league goaltender. ... Phoenix D Rostislav Klesla took a puck to the face 33 seconds into the game and was bleeding profusely as he left the ice. He returned wearing a jaw guard late in the second period. ... The Arizona Republic reports that former San Jose Sharks President Greg Jamison continues in talks with the city of Glendale over a lease agreement to pave the way for his purchase of the Coyotes, but stumbling blocks remain. .... The crowd was announced as a sellout of 17,217. ... Nashville was 2-0 on the road in its first-round victory over Detroit.
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