Nashville Predators fall to Scotty Upshall's hat trick in Phoenix, 4-2

After carrying a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period on the road in Phoenix, the Nashville Predators gave up a natural hat trick to their former 1st-round draft pick, Scotty Upshall,  to lose to the Coyotes 4-2. The Preds outshot Phoenix on the evening 43-23, but outside of a 40-second outburst, couldn't beat Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

Follow after the jump for video highlights, reaction, and the advanced even-strength stats...

It seems like a few of these games comes along for every NHL team, in every season; despite dominating the shot clock (including some decent chances, not just a series of long bombs), the Preds couldn't buy a goal early on. When Matt Lombardi put the Coyotes up 1-0 early in the second, that frustration started to sink in.

But then, persistence started to pay off. Patric Hornqvist continued his breakout season by hitting the 20-goal mark for the 1st time, finishing off a rush with Steve Sullivan and Jason Arnott, continuing to follow the bouncing puck and drive it towards the Phoenix goal.

Shortly after that, Martin Erat received a true gift, as Ed Jovanovski lost a puck in his skates and pirouetted while Erat picked it up and moved in for an easy score. Just like that, the Preds led 2-1 and seemed to have a good handle on things.

Instead of locking things down, however, things just unraveled in the 3rd. Even though they only gave up 7 shots to the Coyotes, Upshall scored early in the period to tie things up before adding two more just 65 seconds apart to give Phoenix a sudden two-goal lead, and bury the Preds' chances of getting back into it.

Dan Ellis ended up with 19 saves on 23 shots, a decidedly "off" game compared to his last two outings. Jordin Tootoo played 10:06 in his return to action after missing more than a month with a broken foot.

In terms of special teams work, the Predators made it through this game without taking a single penalty, the first time they've done that since March 22, 2008 vs. Chicago, a 2-1 Nashville victory. On the downside, however, the power play failed to connect on two opportunities, and fired only three shots on goal.

From here, the Predators move on to Colorado tomorrow night, and have the weekend off before playing at Columbus on Tuesday.

The Preds return home Saturday, January 30 vs. the Atlanta Thrashers. For discounted tickets to this or any other Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".

Looking at the stats, what really jumps out is that most of the numbers were fairly positive across the board, with the exception of the 4th-line guys like Spalding and Belak. Conversely, the top line of Sullivan-Arnott-Hornqvist put twice as many shots on net as their opponents. Interestingly, Patric Hornqvist also blocked 3 shots at the other end of the rink.

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Jason Arnott C 18:23 2 0 1 0 16 6 10 24 16 8
 Steve Sullivan L 17:48 1 0 1 0 14 6 8 22 16 6
 Patric Hornqvist R 17:32 7 3 1 3 15 7 8 24 17 7
 Marcel Goc C 17:10 2 2 0 0 12 8 4 21 13 8
 Ryan Jones L 16:19 1 2 1 1 11 7 4 20 12 8
 Martin Erat R 16:12 3 2 0 1 12 5 7 21 9 12
 Joel Ward R 14:21 5 1 0 2 11 8 3 16 14 2
 David Legwand C 13:22 1 0 0 0 10 6 4 15 14 1
 Jerred Smithson R 12:57 0 1 0 1 9 6 3 14 13 1
 Jordin Tootoo R 10:06 3 0 0 1 8 4 4 10 14 -4
 Nick Spaling C 8:39 0 0 0 1 4 3 1 5 12 -7
 Wade Belak R 7:39 0 0 0 0 2 3 -1 2 12 -10
 Ryan Suter D 25:43 2 1 1 0 19 11 8 31 17 14
 Shea Weber D 22:33 5 1 2 1 15 9 6 25 14 11
 Dan Hamhuis D 21:07 3 0 0 3 13 9 4 22 24 -2
 Kevin Klein D 19:45 1 1 0 3 11 11 0 18 27 -9
 Francis Bouillon D 13:30 2 1 0 2 11 4 7 17 15 2
 Cody Franson D 9:22 2 1 0 1 11 2 9 13 11 2
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