The Nashville Predators and the Arizona Coyotes faced off tonight in Arizona. The Preds began the night with some energy. Especially exciting was Ryan Ellis skating in for a shot on Antti Raanta. An early Viktor Arvidsson breakaway was broken up by Jakob Chychrun from behind. Many chances were countered by the lack of team synergy.
With about six minutes left in the first, Derek Stepan was called for hook on Ryan Johansen and the Preds got the first power play of the evening. Josh Archibald picked off an errant pass and had a two-on-one breakaway...but the ‘Yotes couldn’t get a shot off. Despite tons of chances on Raanta, Nashville couldn’t get a puck into the net. The Predators looked awfully discombobulated in the first.
The first five minutes of the second period were relatively exciting for the Preds. They absolutely peppered Raanta with shots, but no pucks made it into the net. The Coyotes looked like they were attempting a penalty kill while the Preds put on a shot clinic in their zone.
Ryan Johansen was guilty of a trip with around 8 minutes gone in the second and the Coyotes got their first chance on the power play. A big final clear by Arvidsson put teams back at even strength.
Some confusion in getting the puck out of the zone resulted in a goal by Anthony Duclair about midway through the period. 1-0 Coyotes. From there, it seemed like momentum shifted in favor of Arizona. Never fear, however. Ryan Ellis popped in a shot with 8 seconds left in the period to tie the game. I’m sure that goal felt pretty good for Ellis.
A ridiculously quick shot by none other than Craig Smith at 00:08 of the third put the Predators up 2-1. After not shooting for about fourteen minutes in the second, the Preds came out firing in the third.
The Coyotes returned the pressure as the third period continued. With 14 minutes left in the third, Nick Cousins knocked the puck into the stands for a delay of game penalty. The Predators were unable to convert on their second power play of the evening.
A most beautiful 2-on-1 between Nick Bonino and Pontus Aberg was stifled by Raanta. Poor Aberg just can’t put those pucks away. From that chance, the action increased as the clock dropped under ten minutes.
With less than five minutes remaining in the period, Austin Watson was whistled for interference and the Predators went on the penalty kill once again. The Nashville penalty killers (without Watson) were successful for 1:58 of the 2:00 period. Cousins’ goal evened the score with 2:49 remaining in regulation.
Juuse Saros was huge in overtime with several massive saves to keep Nashville in the game. Unfortunately, it would not be enough. The Coyotes put home the winning goal on a rebound from Christian Fischer.
BUT WAIT! The net was knocked off its post right before the goal was scored. The officials determined that the goal was good. Then, the NHL Official Review crew in Toronto reviewed the goal and determined there was no goaltender interference on Saros. It was an incredibly disappointing finish.
- Ellis should score 3 goals tonight just because.
- Poor Arizona’s arena is fairly empty.
- Arvi almost had a breakaway!
- It’s been a long tiiiiiiiime....since a whistle was blown.
- Fox Sports TN came back with a shot of Rinne and Saros having a Finnish goaltender conversation.
- Many tries in front of Raanta and nothing goes in.
- Please get a PP goal.
- This is some boring hockey.
- HOW IS THE PUCK NOT GOING IN?
- Shots. Shots shots shots shots.
- I woke up on Anthony Duclair’s breakaway.
- Penalty killed.
- What the heck happened there? Why do sticks keep breaking at the wrong time? 1-0 Yotes.
- Emelin and Weber are...terrible at getting the puck out of the zone.
- ELLIS SCORES WITH 8 SECONDS LEFT IN THE SECOND!
- That was fast. Smith! I sure do love it when goals come with sounds.
- Another PP chance!
- I might have cried with joy if Pontus Aberg had scored on that chance.
- The refs are in the way a TON tonight.
- The Fox Sports camera showed some Oilers fans in the Arizona arena (???)
- Laviolette is not happy.
- Kevin Fiala stole the puck and Mattias Ekholm almost snapped that one home. Sigh.
- Holy crap, Saros.
- Well, this is awkward. All the post-game Coyotes crew is just standing on the ice waiting for the official call.
- The official call was that Fischer’s goal was good. Toronto will review for goaltender interference.
- That goaltender interference call was absolutely blown by the NHL Official Review crew.
- Frustrating night for the Predators. They had more than enough chances to smoke Arizona and came up appallingly short.
Tonight’s Three Stars
- Juuse Saros: The younger Finnish goaltender stopped 22 of 25 shots tonight. For a goaltender not facing a ton of shots, Saros played well and managed to keep the Preds in the game.
- Craig Smith: After a few games without goals, Smith put in a sick wrister over the shoulder of Antti Raanta just eight seconds into the third period.
- Ryan Ellis: It probably felt really good for Ellis to pop that shot in the net. It’s been far too many games since the Human Rocketship scored a goal for the Predators. It was both a surprise and a beauty.
Tweets of the Game
Arvi why didn't you do the vroom— nando eggenberger (@AngryPredsFan) January 5, 2018
How do you expect to score with three of you BEHIND THE NET?!?!— Katherine T. (@i24predsfan) January 5, 2018
Craig Smith's goal at :08 of the 3rd period tonight at Arizona is the fastest goal from the start of the 3rd period on the road in franchise history and is just two seconds off the franchise record for fastest goal from the start of a period. #Preds— Nashville Preds PR (@PredsPR) January 5, 2018