By Amanda DiPaolo
JP Dumont recorded the Predators first hat trick of the season in Nashville’s 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena Tuesday night. It was Dumont’s fourth career hat trick, but first in the regular season since 2001. Dumont has now scored five goals in the last two games.
The Predators also benefitted from strong goaltending from Pekka Rinne who stopped 32-34 shots on goal. Rinne remains second in the League in goals against average as well as save percentage. Rinne’s record moves to 15-11-4 on the season.
Nashville didn’t record their first shot on goal until the eight minutes mark but scored on their second shot of the game at 8:16 into the first period.
Chris Mueller was able to maintain possession of the puck in the corner and found Dumont open all alone in the slot. Dumont netted his seventh of the season.
What amounts to the Predators fourth line dominated play in roughly 12 minutes of ice time. Mueller, who collected a second assist on Dumont’s third goal, now has three assists in his last two games. Matt Halischuk picked up his first two assists as a member of the Nashville Predators Tuesday night.
Just 12 seconds after Dumont scored, Patric Hornqvist picked up his 14th of the campaign. Hornqvist had possession of the puck in the corner, got hit into the boards, lost the puck, but followed it out to the open area in front of the net and shot a wrister passed the Coyotes netminder for the 2-0 lead.
The lead was short lived when Alexander Sulzer got called for hooking Lauri Korpikoski less than two minutes after the second Predators goal at 10:08 of the first period.
During the penalty kill, Shane O’Brien, back from serving a two-game suspension, tried to help Rinne freeze the puck but accidentally jammed the puck through Rinne’s pads cutting the lead in half. Radim Vrbata was given credit for the tally. It was his tenth goal of the season. Though O’Brien was the player who put the puck in the net, assists were handed to Shane Doan and Keith Yandle.
Just 3:30 minutes later with only six minutes to play in the period, Lee Stempniak tied the game on a backhanded shot redirecting a shot from the point taken by Adrian Aucoin. It was Stempniak’s 11th goal of the season.
Nashville was outshot 15-7 in the opening frame, but the second period was all JP Dumont.
Nashville was sent to the power play when Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for hooking Chris Mueller at 9:21 into the middle frame. Nashville had excellent puck poissession in the Coyotes zone during the second half of the man advantage but were unable to regain the lead until after the power play expired.
Still maintaining puck possession when the man advantaged came to a conclusion, Dumont scored his fourth goal in two games. Weber was able to keep the puck in the offensive zone on a clearing attempt, passing over to Suter who gave the puck to Erat, now at the point. Erat shot the puck on goal. Dumont was able to get his stick on the rebound.
The hat trick was completed, giving Nashville the 4-2 lead, on a beautiful play that was started by Dumont himself. The Coyotes attempted a stretch pass that Dumont intercepted, passed it off to Mueller who sent the puck up to Halischuk. Halischuk took the initial shot on goal and Dumont shot the rebound passed Bryzgalov.
The Coyotes were unable to generate any additional offense. Rinne was solid in goal. Phoenix did have 18 seconds of a two-man advantage but couldn’t capitalize and it was only Nashville that would add to their lead.
The third period did not have many shots with the advantage going to Phoenix 7-3. Nashville scored on its first of three shots in the final frame 14:29 into the third period. Hornqvist was coming in on a 3 on 1. Colin Wilson was alone in front of the goaltender but Hornqvist elected to shoot, leaving Wilson in front to screen Bryzgalov, beating him right side over the glove.
With the win, Nashville is now 1-1 in the first two games of their six game road trip. The Predators play in Colorado on Thursday night. Both the Avs and Predators won on Tuesday night. Game time is 8 pm CT on Thursday.
Additional Game Notes:
JP Dumont’s three goals came on his only three shots of the game.
Shea Weber and Keith Yandle lead their respective teams in points with 28 and 37 points respectively. They are two of only three defensemen to lead their teams in points. The other defenseman is Dustin Byfuglien of the Atlanta Thrashers.
Marek Svatos did not play for the third straight game. Steve Sullivan, Cal O’Reilly and Matthew Lombardi are all still out with injuries. Francis Bouillon was also out of the lineup Tuesday night. Bouillon left the game Sunday when he was boarded by Troy Brouwer.
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