NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 04: Adrian Aucoin #33 and Antoine Vermette #50 of the Phoenix Coyotes congratulated teammate Shane Doan #19 after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on May 2, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
With Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn watching on as scratches, the Nashville Predators came up with their weakest offensive effort of the playoffs, getting shut out by Phoenix 1-0. The loss puts the Preds in a 3-1 hole in this Western Conference Semifinal, giving the Coyotes the chance to close things out Monday on their home ice.
Pekka Rinne did his part, turning aside all but one of 24 Phoenix shots and keep the Predators within one shot of tying things up, but Mike Smith was oustanding at the other end.
Follow after the jump for the video highlights and reaction...
Cue the video (might take 30-45 minutes post-game to work):
Your random observations:
- That first period wasn't exactly a thing of beauty... pretty much no offensive pressure and the opening goal for Phoenix, which saw Shane Doan just plow Hal Gill off the puck and drive to the front of the net.
- Has anyone had worse luck in one period than Patric Hornqvist? He had some ridiculously wide-open scoring chances but couldn't quite bury them in the second. In 23 career playoff games, he has just three goals. His effort was admirable tonight, at least.
- Sergei Kostistyn, on the other hand? I've said it before, and I'll say it again - utterly invisible, and if anyone deserves to be scratched, it's him.
- Back on the positive side, Colin Wilson was outstanding, creating opportunities pretty consistently.
- Give full marks to Phoenix for getting sticks on so many Nashville shot attempts, it seemed like they rarely got a good look at Smith.
- Folks will complain about the waved-off goal in the third, but the ref clearly blew the whistle well before the puck went in.
- With offensive zone faceoffs late in the third period, it boggles the mind not to see faceoff savant (as coined by Jim Diamond) Paul Gaustad out there to try and win the draw back for a Shea Weber bomb. David Legwand got most of those late draws, and seemed to lose every one.
Who is your Predator of the Game?
Patric Hornqvist (37 votes)
Colin Wilson (58 votes)
Pekka Rinne (137 votes)
232 total votes