Predators prevail over Arizona 3-2 in shootout

The Nashville Predators secured their fourth straight win at home Thursday night with a thrilling 3-2 shootout win over the Arizona Coyotes. The boys from the desert had previously beaten Nashville out west 3-2 in OT on January 4. While this one ended in victory it was no walk in the park for the home team.

The Predators dominated the first period in shots and a strong forecheck, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Calle Jarnkrok was denied stick side by Annti Raanta keeping the match scoreless until late in the second period. Scott Hartnell found twine off a beautiful break away pass from Ryan Ellis to put the Preds up 1-0. This was soon tied back up after Oliver Ekman-Laarson found the back of the net in a scrum around Rinne after he ripped a hard shot from the blue line with 11.3 left in the second period.

The Coyotes took a brief lead in the third period after Brendan Perlini broke away up ice and found a seam on a backhand shot to put Arizona up 2-1.  With 2:45 remaining, Ryan Ellis would knot up the game 2-2 with a slap shot screamer through the legs of Raanta, a goal that the Coyotes unsuccessfully challenged.

The Predators and Coyotes went into overtime, a period dominated by Nashville in puck possession, but ended in frustration after Craig Smith hit the crossbar on a potential game-winning shot. The extra hockey didn’t quite seal the deal, so the game went to a shootout.

Perlini was stopped by Rinne, Turris scored. Both Richard Panik and Ryan Ellis were unsuccessful. Nick Cousins kept the Coyotes in it. And the winning goal went to Craig Smith on the following shot to give the Predators a W. That was a lot like pulling teeth against a hard and fast basement dwelling team.

Next for the Preds is Saturday against Florida.

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