By TERESA M. WALKER, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Shane Doan scored in the first period, Mike Smith made 25 saves and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 1-0 on Friday night to grab a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
By winning their first game in the month of May, the Coyotes can advance to the conference finals with a win in Game 5 on Monday night in Arizona.
The Predators played with forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn scratched for a second straight game, this time the decision by coach Barry Trotz to stick with the lineup that won 2-0 on Wednesday night.
They sorely missed their offense, though Nashville thought it tied it with 7:12 remaining. But officials waved off the power-play goal because a whistle blew before the puck crossed the line.
The Predators wound up outshooting Phoenix 25-24, but they had chances with the net open they simply missed with Radulov and Kostitsyn on the sideline. Radulov leads Nashville with a team-high six points in the postseason, and Kostitsyn is tied for the team lead with three goals. Fans cheered the announcement that the two were scratched after they were suspended for Game 3 for an apparent curfew violation last weekend in Arizona.
Nashville had plenty of chances, outshooting Phoenix 10-5 in the third. The Predators even got a power play at 11:34 when Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris cleared the puck over the glass and went to the box. The Predators had a scrum in front of the net after Mike Fisher threw the puck at the net, but the official behind the net immediately waved no goal. Trotz pointed across the ice, asking for a review. It didn't take long for an announcement of no goal with the official ruling the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the line.
Phoenix improved to 4-1 on the road in the postseason, spoiling what had been a big party in Nashville with three blocks of Broadway shut down right in front of the arena. The Predators put two big TVs outside for fans to cheer but didn't give them much to yell about.
The Coyotes outskated and outshot Nashville from the start, coming with much more energy. They even got a power play 90 seconds in only to see the Predators kill that. Then Ryan Suter had a turnover near the net, and Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker had a chance on Pekka Rinne right in front before the 6-foot-5 Finn blocked it with his right pad.
Fans did their best to try and spark the Predators with their usual standing ovation through a timeout in the first period to a catfish tossed onto the ice early in the third. Nothing helped the Predators' aim getting past Smith into the net.
Nashville went 0 for 3 with the man advantage. The first came when Rostislav Klesla was penalized for boarding Predators forward Matt Halischuk right in front of the Coyotes' bench. Replay showed Klesla appeared to grab Halischuk's jersey before pushing him into the boards, and Halischuk went to the locker room briefly. But the Coyotes, perfect in killing penalties on the road this postseason, did it again.
Doan scored on a backhander as he skated across the slot and got a nice bounce off Rinne's right pad and over across the line at 14:25 of the first.
The Predators came out with more energy in the second but struggled to get a shot on net. Hornqvist had Nashville's best chance around the 6-minute mark when Smith came just out of the crease to handle the puck, and Hornqvist missed the net. The Predators struggled so much they couldn't even go on a 2-on-1 chance before being called for offsides later in the second.
With Smith in net, Doan's goal proved to be more than enough with the way the Coyotes played in front of him. They blocked 10 of Nashville's first 15 shots, and Smith either covered up or gloved the others.
Notes: The Coyotes are 16 of 16 on the penalty kill on the road this postseason. ... The Predators are 0 for 23 on the power play at home.