The Nashville Predators looked to get back to winning tonight, while the Arizona Coyotes mostly looked to endure a grueling marathon of a road trip (and also get back in the W column). Former Pred Connor Ingram faced his former team in goal, while Juuse Saros minded the net for the Predators.
The Preds got started with two early power plays, courtesy of penalties taken by Barrett Hayton (who tripped Colton Sissons) and Juuso Valimaki (who interfered with Cole Smith). Neither of those amounted to much for the Preds, but at least they were able to contain the Coyotes’ penalty kill—it’s been a couple of years since the Coyotes’ penalty kill was outscoring their power play, but they still play aggressive (and their power play has improved).
A third early Coyotes penalty—Nick Schmaltz, for elbowing Ryan McDonagh in the face while trying to play the puck—set up the Predators for a nice goal, a Filip Forsberg shot tipped by Mikael Granlund. The Coyotes counterattacked, with Clayton Keller streaking down the ice to get a shot off, but Saros was able to make the save.
The next long stretch of the period was fairly quiet, with the Coyotes gradually beginning to gain some steam. With a couple of minutes remaining, Schmaltz had a great chance that Saros had to come completely out of the net to stop, and almost as soon as play resumed Josh Brown took exception to a hit from Cole Smith and the two dropped gloves over it. The Preds pushed back a little at the very end of the period, but neither team scored again before intermission.
Early in the second, McDonagh took a puck to the mouth and left the ice immediately, and Jusso Parssinen stepped in to help control play and keep the Preds out of danger while they were shorthanded. A moment later, Tanner Jeannot also left the ice with a mouth injury—courtesy of a high stick from one of his own teammates—and headed down the tunnel after McDonagh.
The Predators, discombobulated by the line juggling and in the period of the long change, gave up a goal to Lawson Crouse about halfway through the second. Moments later, Dante Fabbro tripped Liam O’Brien, giving the Coyotes a chance on the power play. Despite some strong chances late, Saros and the penalty killers were able to keep the score 1-1.
The Coyotes continued their strong play this period, eventually mounting enough pressure to get past Saros’s series of desperation saves. Nick Bjugstad scored from behind the net, banking the puck off Saros, to make it 2-1 Coyotes.
Very late in the second, Ryan Johansen and Patrik Nemeth took coincidental minors while scuffling and the teams went to four-on-four. There was some noticeable offense from the defenders, with Shayne Gostisbehere at one end, and then Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm at the other, taking their chances. Both goalies were up to the task, and the period ended with the Coyotes still leading by 1.
Jeannot and McDonagh were both back for the start of the third—Jeannot had actually returned late in the second—as the Preds attempted to make up the deficit. Seconds into the period, Matias Maccelli tripped Alexandre Carrier, and the Preds went back to the power play. Josi scored through traffic to tie the game 2-2 just over a minute into the period.
Just 28 seconds later, Matt Duchene scored to give the Preds the lead again, 3-2. Ekholm and Carrier tried very hard to extend the lead, but Ingram was on the job; a moment later, Josi hit the post.
The Predators got a power play when Juuso Valimaki high-sticked Jeannot, but Bjugstad scored his second of the game shorthanded to tie it 3-3. The Preds tried harder for a regulation win, with Duchene, Sissons, and Jeannot combining for a shift that really made Ingram work for it. A bad bounce and a quick counterattack by the Coyotes gave Saros a chance of his own to shine.
With just under three minutes to go, Zach Sanford took an offensive zone penalty, putting the Preds shorthanded. Valiant work by the penalty killers kept the score tied, and although each team got a chance in the dying seconds of the period, the game headed to overtime.
Ryan Johansen got an early chance, but Ingram made the save; he and Josi had another chance at the end of the same shift good enough that Josi thought it had gone in, but no luck. With 2:50 remaining in the overtime, Crouse took a holding penalty and the Preds got another chance on the power play. where Josi hit the post again. Neither team was able to score before the end of overtime, and the shootout commenced.
Neither goalie had a great time of it at the start of the shootout, with Duchene, Forsberg, and Johansen scoring for the Preds and Bjugstad, Keller, and Nick Ritchie scoring for the Coyotes in the first four rounds. From there, they shut it down until Cody Glass won it for the Preds in the seventh round, with Saros making the stop on Gostisbehere.