Dumont, Hornqvist, Lead Preds

The Nashville Predators took the desert by storm beating the Phoenix Coyotes 5-2 and taking sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference at the Jobbing.com Arena in Glendale on Tuesday night.

J.P. Dumont had his fourth career hat trick and Patric Hornqvist had two goals supplying all the offense that the Predators needed to take a 2-1 series lead over the Coyotes for the season. Dumont’s line mates, Matt Halischuk and Chris Mueller, each had a pair of assists. The Coyotes got goals from Radim Vrbata and Lee Stempniak.

Amazingly, the Coyotes out shot the Predators, 31-21, but Pekka Rinne stood tall in the Predators net picking up his 15th win of the season. Ilya Bryzgalov had one of his worst outings of the year, giving up five goals on 21 shots.

The Predators scored first at 8:16 in the opening period on Dumont’s slapper from the right faceoff circle to give the Preds a 1-0 lead. Twelve seconds later, Hornqvist took a pass from Colin Wilson after the next face off, made a shot from a hard angle, retrieved his own rebound, and then buried the puck into the net. After the goal, the Coyotes took a time out to regroup.

At 10:08, Alexander Sulzer was called for hooking to put the Yotes on the man advantage. At 10:31, Shane O’Brien was battling with Vrbata and trying to freeze the puck at the Preds net and it appeared that he knocked it in, with Vrbata getting credit for a power play goal to make it 2-1.

The Predators were forced to use their time out at 13:33 after an icing call when the players had been on the ice for an extended period. After a change, Stempniak scored on a backhander to tie the game 2-2.

The first period ended with Phoenix out shooting the Predators 16-7 and the coaching staff was not pleased after allowing the Coyotes to come back from a two-goal deficit.

The score remained tied until Dumont’s second goal on a wrister off of a rebound at 11:25 which came four seconds after a Predator power play ended and gave the Preds a 3-2 lead. Dumont claimed his hat trick at 17:35 on another wrister off a pass from Halischuk that found its way past Bryzgalov into the Phoenix net and gave Nashville a 4-2 lead.

The Predators played much better in the second period and tied the Coyotes in shots at 11 each.

As the game wound down at 14:29, Hornqvist took a giveaway from Scottie Upshall near the ‘Yotes blue line and fired a shot past Bryzgalov to give the Preds an insurmountable 5-2 lead.

In the final period, the Predators played a much more puck control type game and limited the Coyotes’ chances. Phoenix outshot Nashville, 7-3.

Dumont now has five goals in his last two games after having only four in his first 44 games of the season. Hornqvist now has 15 goals to lead the Predators.

The Predators have now won eight of their last ten and will journey on to Colorado where they will play the Avalanche on Thursday night as they continue on to the third game in their six-game road trip that leads up to the All-Star break.

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