POWER PLAY CLICKS
In Game Two, Nashville scored a pair of power play goals for the first time this postseason, going a perfect two-for-two. It was also the first time the Predators have tallied multiple power-play goals in a playoff game since scoring twice on the man-advantage in Game Two of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Anaheim (April 15, 2011). Nashville has power-play goals in back-to-back games for the second time this postseason – the team scored power-play goals in Games Three and Four against Detroit in the WCQ. With three man-advantage goals in Phoenix, the Predators have now converted five of 14 power play opportunities (35.7 percent) on the road – the third highest success rate in the NHL playoffs.
SUTER STEPS UP
After being held scoreless in the opening round against Detroit, Ryan Suter has tallied three points (1g-2a) in the first two games of the series against Phoenix. He notched his first multiple point effort (1g-1a) of the playoffs in Game Two on Sunday night. His last multi-point postseason outing came in Game Two of the 2011 WCS vs. Vancouver (April 30, 2011). Suter’s power-play goal just 53 seconds into the final frame on Sunday was the fastest goal from the start of the third period in franchise history away from Bridgestone Arena. He has also posted assists on the Predators other two power plays goals this series – Patric Hornqvist’s goal in the second period of Game Two and Martin Erat’s game-tying power-play goal late in Game One.
With all three of his points (1g-2a) coming on the power play, the Madison, Wis., native now ranks among the League’s top five defensemen in power-play points this postseason. Suter played more than 30 minutes for the second consecutive game on Sunday (30:20), after playing a game-high 33:17 in Game One. He leads all players still alive in the NHL playoffs in average time on ice per game (28:52).
PLAYOFF QUICK HITS
• This is the Predators second consecutive trip to the Western Conference Semifinals. They fell to Vancouver in the 2011 WCS (4-2), after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in the WCQ to advance in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
• David Legwand has nine points (6g-3a) in his last 11 postseason outings dating back to Nashville’s 2011 WCS series vs. Vancouver. Legwand is Nashville’s all-time leader in postseason goals (12), assists (14), points (26), plus/minus (+9) and games played (44).
• Martin Erat ranks second to Legwand on the franchise’s all-time playoff points (22), goals (8) and games played (43) lists. He is tied with Legwand for the most assists (14) in franchise postseason history.
• Mike Fisher leads all Predators with 38 career postseason points (17g-21a).
• Alexander Radulov has six points (1g-5a) in seven games this postseason. Radulov set a playoff franchise record with assists in four straight games from Game Two thru Five of the WCQ vs. Detroit.
• Ryan Suter (36gp) and Shea Weber (36gp) have each taken the ice in every Predators’ playoff game over the team’s last four trips to the postseason – they are the only players to do so.
2011-12 SEASON SERIES VS. PHOENIX AT A GLANCE
The Predators and Coyotes are facing each other for the first time in the postseason. During the 2011-12 regular season series, the visiting team won each game as Nashville and Phoenix split the series. Here is how the four-game 2011-12 slate played out:
OCT. 13, 2011 (NSH 2, PHX 5) – It was the home opener for the Predators, but the Coyotes stole the show with a 5-2 victory. Ryan Suter – who scored his first-career shorthanded goal – and Colin Wilson scored Nashville’s two goals, while David Legwand notched two assists on the night.
NOV. 3, 2011 (NSH 3, PHX 0) – Pekka Rinne – celebrating his 29th birthday – signed the largest contract in Nashville's history earlier that afternoon, and then capped off the day by shutting out the Coyotes in Glendale. That victory gave Rinne four career shutouts against the Coyotes – more than he has against any other team. Patric Hornqvist scored for a fourth straight game, while Jonathon Blum and Matt Halischuk added goals for the Preds.
DEC. 6, 2011 (NSH 2, PHX 3) – Phoenix claimed the Nashville portion of the season series with a 3-2 win on a goal from Keith Yandle at 1:45 of the third. Jack Hillen – who was playing in his 200th career game – and Shea Weber scored for Nashville.
MARCH 12, 2012 (NSH 5, PHX 4) – Nashville pulled out the 5-4 shootout win to split the season series with Phoenix. Martin Erat got the Preds on the board with just 29 second remaining in the first. The teams traded goals in the middle frame, as Mike Fisher and Francis Bouillon tallied for the Preds. It was Bouillon’s first goal in 87 games – his previous goal came against the Coyotes on Nov. 3, 2010 at Jobing.com Arena. Craig Smith extended the Preds lead early in the third, but Phoenix tallied twice in the final 13 minutes to force overtime. Andrei Kostitsyn tallied on the first shot in the shootout, while Rinne turned away all three Coyote shooters to record his 39th win of the season.
FOUR PREDS NAMED AWARDS FINALISTS
Nashville will send four representatives to the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20. President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile has been nominated for the General Manager of the Year Award; goaltender Pekka Rinne has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position;” defenseman Shea Weber has been named as a finalist for the Norris Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position;” and forward Mike Fisher, who has been nominated for the NHL Foundation Player Award, which “recognizes an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.”