Post-Game Musings: Game 2 at Phoenix
Each time the Preds appeared to gain some momentum, Phoenix would take advantage of a Nashville misplay to wrestle momentum away from the Preds, en route to a 5-3 Coyotes win in Game 2 on Sunday evening. The Preds surrendered a goal to Pyatt just 30 seconds after Hornqvist’s power-play goal brought the Preds to 3-2 and temporarily quieted the crowd. Nashville again appeared to gain some momentum when Suter scored on the power-play 53 seconds into the third period, but the Preds struggled the remainder of the four-on-four and the Coyotes cashed in on a faceoff play at the 3:36 mark of the third to regain the two goal lead.
Pekka Rinne surrendered five goals, but he had little chance on each of the scoring plays and made a handful of big-time saves to give the Preds chances to hang around the game.
The Preds will have two days to regroup and refocus before Game 3 of the series back home in Nashville on Wednesday night.
Now on to the musings…
Power-Play – Nashville scored two goals on the power-play and added a third on a delayed call. With teams trying to take away Weber’s big shot from the point, Suter stepped up firing the shots from the point on both of the Preds PPGs. In the second period, Hornqvist deflected Suter’s point shot to pull the Preds to 3-2. In the third period, Suter one-timed a feed from Weber to make the score 4-3.
Own Mistakes – Each of Phoenix’s five goals were the direct result of “detail” mistakes by the Preds. The first one was a bad puck decision by Klein followed in short order with poor read by Weber to leave Vermette wide open at the back door for an easy tap-in. The Preds defenders watched idly by as Coyotes trail forwards scored rebound attempts on Phoenix’s second and fourth goals. Legwand threw the puck into the center slot instead of the nearside corner to hand the Coyotes their fourth goal. Klein had a bad turnover early in the third period --- instead of an easy clear, and potential counter-attack opportunity --- which was bailed out by a tremendous save by Rinne, but the Coyotes scored right off the ensuing faceoff.
Momentum Changer – One sequence early in the second period represented the biggest momentum swing in the game. With the Coyotes holding a 2-1 lead, the Preds put together a strong offensive flurry from the Legwand line, winning battles along the boards to keep possession alive and ultimately triggering a point shot from Klein that beat Smith, but rang off the far post. Phoenix got the rebound and counter-attacked, ending in Vrbata's goal to make it 3-1 just seconds after Klein's post that would have evened the score at two. The Coyotes lead the remainder of the way through to pick up the Game 2 win.
1) PHX F Radim Vrbata – 1 goal, 1 assist, +2, 3 shots on goal; the Vrbata-Hanzal-Whitney line was very good tonight; his goal gave Phoenix its initial two goal lead and established the tone for the remainder of the game
2) NSH D Ryan Suter – 1 goal, 1 assist, 30:20 ice time; game-high 6 shots on goal; keyed both of Nashville’s power-play goals; was dangerous from the point
3) PHX D Keith Yandle – 2 assists, +3, 26:50 ice time; drew primary assist on Phoenix’s first and third goals