Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski scored goals in each period, including the game winner in the third, en route to his first career hat trick as he led the ‘Yotes to a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators at Jobbing.com Arena Wednesday night. Lee Stempniak scored his fourth goal of the year for the other Coyote tally as Martin Hanzel had two helpers is a strong showing.
The Predators got goals from Francis Bouillon, Sergei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist, while Jordin Tootoo had two assists.
The game was billed as a goaltending battle between Pekka Rinne and Ilya Bryzgalov, two of the leagues best. Neither goalie was particularly sharp and Rinne did not seem to be at his best in spite of it being his 28th birthday.
Both teams appeared energized at the start with the return of key players. Hanzel came back after missing six games for the Yotes and Tootoo, Bouillon and Marcel Goc each played after missing the previous game. Bouillon wore the “A” for the first time in his NHL career.
The game started with a brisk pace at both ends. Phoenix took a quick 1-0 lead at 1:08 on Jovanovski’s shot from the circle that found the net. It appeared that Rinne was screened and was not expecting the shot.
The Predators had an opportunity to tie it up quickly when Hanzel was called for tripping J.P. Dumont at 2:08. The Preds only managed one shot by Shea Weber on the man advantage.
At 6:53, Taylor Pyatt tripped Jerred Smithson to give the Preds another power play opportunity. Dumont had the only shot on the man advantage.
Just five seconds after the power play was over at 8:58, Bouillon shot a wrister from near the blue line that found the net to tie the game at 1-1 after Bryzgalov appeared to have been screened by Kostitsyn.
On the next shift Kostitsyn stole the puck from Adrian Aucoin in front of the Yotes’ net and shot it all in the same motion flipping the puck past Bryzgalov to give the Preds a 2-1 lead just 30 seconds after Bouillon’s tally at 9:28.
The first period ended with the Preds outshooting the Yotes 11-8.
Jovanovski scored his second goal just 69 seconds into the second period when he took the puck off an offensive zone face off and shot it from a hard angle into the roof of the net. It was a shot that Rinne should have been able to handle.
At 3:15 a shot by Colin Wilson was reviewed as it glided along the red line behind Bryzgalov and hit a post before bouncing away from the net.
Nashville headed back on the power play when Oliver Ekman-Larsson tripped Tootoo. Dumont got the only sot as the Preds went 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
Shane Doan was called for interference on Bouillon at 11:48. The Predators finally connected on the man advantage when Hornqvist picked up a rebound off a Wilson shot and shoved it past Bryzgalov at 12:44 to put the Preds back in the lead, 3-2.
The Coyotes had three good chances on an open net late in the period as Rinne was drawn out of position. The Yotes were unable to get free to make the shot. The Coyotes out shot the Preds 10-8 in the second period.
Steve Sullivan started the third period with three quick scoring chances and hit the crossbar at 2:07 and prematurely celebrated on the non-goal.
The Predators then put the Coyotes on the power play at 2:56 in the third period. Stempniak capitalized on the power play opportunity when he fired a wrister past Rinne to tie the game at 3-3 at 4:23.
On the next shift, Cody Franson was then called for holding Vern Fiddler’s stick at the 5:00 mark. Jovanovski scored his third goal of the night on the man advantage at 5:38 to put the Yotes ahead 4-3 as Rinne just missed getting a piece of the puck that was flipped past him on the post.
At 6:02, Fiddler tripped Joel Ward to put the Preds on the power play. The Preds fired three shots towards Bryzgalov but couldn’t put one past the ‘Yotes netminder.
The Predators played well and had numerous chances for the remainder of the period. The game ended with the goalie pulled and the Predators trying to jam the net to no avail. The Preds outshot the Yotes 12-10 in the final period.
The Predators traveled to Los Angeles after the game where they will play the Kings on Saturday.