Your Nashville Predators hosted the Phoenix Coyotes last night and picked up a 4-2 win. Nashville jumped out to a fast start before fighting off a case of deja vu to hold on to the lead.
The Predators came out firing on all cylinders and jumped out to an 3-0 lead after the first period. Nick Spaling scored his third of the season 1:02 into the game and Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque chipped in the other two. Nashville dictated the pace of play for the entire period and was sharp offensively. They generated a lot of good scoring chances and forced Mike Smith to come up big in the net for Phoenix. The game could have easily been 5-0 after the first period. One thing that worked well for the Preds was playing responsibly in their end. A number of the scoring chances came after good breakouts based on defensive stops. They generated speed in the neutral zone and then drove the net. It was one of the better offensive periods of the year.
The second and third period were not as strong, but Nashville got the job done. The game started to have shades of the last time these two teams met in Phoenix on October 31. Nashville scored three goals in the first before giving up two in the second and ultimately losing in the shootout. Nashville looked like they might fall victim to the same result after sitting back in the second and letting Phoenix drive the tempo. Nashville still counterpunched in the second, but the offense really fell by the wayside in third. The Coyotes directed twelve shots at the net versus five by Nashville in the third, but Marek Mazanec was up for the task.
Mazanec made his seventh consecutive start and stopped 29 of 31 shots for his fourth win. With the win, Mazanec ties Carter Hutton and Pekka Rinne for the team lead with 4. He also lowered his goals against average to 2.28 and raised his save percentage to .929. For comparison sake, Rinne has faced 229 shots this year and allowed 19 goals. Mazanec has faced 241 and only allowed 17, two less than Rinne on twelve more shots. All things considered, Mazanec is putting up the numbers that we would expect from Rinne and has been a potential season-saver for the Preds.
- Paul Gaustad continued his success in the faceoff circle, winning 13 out of 19.
- This is only the second win for the Preds this season when they don’t score a power play goal.
- Since finishing the franchise-long seventeen day roadtrip, Nashville is 4-1-0.
The Preds are at home again on Wednesday night against Columbus. Be sure to check in with us for a preview of those game and other Preds’ news. Thanks for reading.