Nashville Predators 4, Phoenix Coyotes, 5: Howl-oween Thriller

The Predators and Coyotes squared off for the first time this season on the first game of the Preds season-long road trip. After coming out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, Nashville squandered it in glorious fashion.

It had been five days since the absolute sideshow of a game the Predators last played in. They wanted to wipe those memories away and start out on the right foot against a Coyotes team that has held their own in a competitive division.

Well, in the first period everything came up Predators. Matt Hendricks opened the scoring on a wicked snap shot. Eric Nystrom added to the lead after Patric Hornqvist used his chest as a backboard. Then, David Legwand accidentally snuck a goal past Thomas Greiss on a lengthy two-man advantage.

The Coyotes stopped the bleeding two minutes into the second on Jordan Szwarz first NHL goal, and Derek Morris got them within one later in the period. Paul Gaustad restored the two-goal lead after some nice forechecking by the fourth line, but Shane Doan quickly erased it on the power play. The Yotes finally clawed back one an Antoine Vermette goal that stood after a video review. That's the way things stood through overtime, and the Coyotes took the game in a shootout.

Random Observations

  • Having a three-goal lead would mean smooth sailing for most teams. Not this one. It's enraging how well the team started, and how easily it seemed they let their cushion slip away.
  • Roman Josi made his grand return to the line up tonight, after being out with a concussion since the October 4th game against Colorado. He didn't look too out of place, which is good. Should be a few games to get his legs back.

  • Victor Stalberg finally got out of the nacho line and into the top line. It's good to finally see him playing with players more suited to his skillset. However, Hutton owes him a steak dinner. Stalberg saved a goal after a Shane Doan shot squeaked through Hutton's pad. Unclench.

  • It's a shame that Hendricks leaves the game injured the same night he scores his first goal. He isn't going to score many, but he makes the team tougher to play against. Get better soon, bud.

  • Legwand must be getting ready for winter, because he's hording points like accorns. With a goal and two assists in the first period, he's been one of the most quietly consistent players, and now leads the team in points.

  • I've been singing Nystrom's praises all season. I was especially excited at him on a line with Legwand and Hornqvist, and it paid off early. It could definitely be argued that Horny should be higher on the depth chart, but not only are they a tough line to play against, they actually have the ability to finish.

  • How the Coyotes didn't score, like, 12 goals at the end of the second period is beyond me. If you didn't hear, Shea Weber and Seth Jones were on the ice for 3:24 (!) straight.

We mentioned this is going to be one tough road trip. One win shouldn't promote optimism just as one loss shouldn't be cause for panic. Still, if they want to have any success in the next six game, they have to tighten up and have a killer instinct when they have teams on the ropes. We'll get a broader sense of where this team is at certainly by next week. Until then, the Kings are calling...

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - Fancy Stats

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