NHL.com: Preds need to solve Coyotes' defense

Saturday, 05.5.2012 / 1:27 PM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
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NHL.com: Preds need to solve Coyotes\' defense

NASHVILLE -- Just as the Phoenix Coyotes did to the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- winning all but one game by one goal -- they are doing the same to the Nashville Predators.

Nashville lost Game 1 in overtime, Game 2 by two goals and Game 4 again by one goal in a 1-0 loss Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.

The Coyotes' defense has been stifling. They yielded only five shots in the first period to Nashville in Game 4 and 25 for the game. In that game – and even in Game 3 which Nashville won 2-0 – the Preds have had great difficulty getting shots through to the net.

"I think it's desperate, but confident," Preds forward Colin Wilson said. "I think that's what's going to allow us to go on and play an even-keel game when we go out there (for Game 5 in Phoenix on Monday) because we don't want to be running around everywhere. Being confident and desperate is what's going to help us to win the next three games."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said that he would like to see the Preds' combination of shots attempted, missed and blocked to be about 70 instead of the 55 range, where they were in Game 4.

"They do collapse in front," Preds third-line center Nick Spaling said. "A lot of time, they have five guys really tight to the net and they block shots. I think it's a matter of continuing to try to put pucks there and get guys there. It's all we can do is to keep shooting and throw everything we can at the net."

The Preds' main issue in Game 4 was getting opportunities, but missing the net. That makes it impossible to get rebounds, which is one of the best ways to beat a goaltender who is playing as well as Mike Smith is for the Coyotes.

"We're doing a little bit of playing outside right now," Spaling said. "They're forcing us to play outside. I think we can do a better job of creating offense by getting a little bit more interior and forcing shots through and creating rebounds."

Nashville allowed one goal to Phoenix in two games at Bridgestone Arena in Games 3 and 4, but managed to win only one game. Trotz said the Preds have "no wiggle room" and "no mulligans" as they face elimination and seemingly called on All-Star defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, the team's captain, to be better in Game 5.

"We haven't found ways to win," he said. "We've got to find ways to win. Our best players have to be our best players. Some guys have played OK. There's no room for OK. We only have room for your best and we've got to be our best. Any player not at his best for Game 5 and going forward, it lessens our chances of getting back in this series."

Author: John Manasso | NHL.com Correspondent

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61