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vs. Phoenix Coyotes
Friday, April 26th, 2012 | TBD
Nashville, TN – The Nashville Predators visit the Phoenix Coyotes to begin the Western Conference Semi-Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Friday night in the desert. The Predators were the first team to advance to the second round after dispatching the Detroit Red Wings in five games.
The Predators defeated the Red Wings (4-1) in the Western Conference Quarterfinals for the first time in franchise postseason history.The 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinal match-up was the third postseason meeting between the two Central Division rivals – with Detroit winning both of the previous series (4-2 in 2004 and 4-2 in 2008). Nashville held home ice advantage for the third time in franchise history – they also finished as the West’s No. 4 seed in 2006 and 2007.
The Predators and Coyotes will go head-to-head for the first time in the postseason as they open their Western Conference Semifinals series on Friday at Jobing.com Arena. The visiting team won each game as Nashville and Phoenix split the regular season series.
Here is how the four-game 2011-12 slate played out:
October 13th, 2011 (Nashville 2, Phoenix 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.
November 3rd, 2011 (Nashville 3, Phoenix 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.
December 6th, 2011 (Nashville 2, Phoenix 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 12th, 2012 (Nashville 5, Phoenix 4) – Nashville pulled out the 5-4 shootout win to split the season series with Phoenix. Martin Erat got the Predators 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 Predators.
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.
Three Nashville Predators are finalists for post-season awards.
President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile, goaltender Pekka Rinne and defenseman Shea Weber will all represent the Predators at the NHL Awards on June 20th in Las Vegas with several awards finalists left to be announced.
This is the third consecutive season Poile has been nominated for the General Manager of the Year Award – he is the only GM in the League to be nominated in each of the awards first three years of existence.
In 2011-12, Poile continued his philosophy of building the team through the draft as 15 Predators’ draftees made up the bulk of the roster – with a franchise-record 21 draftees seeing time with the club during the season. They were complemented by six players acquired via trade, two via free agency and two via waivers.
He was able to solidify the Preds’ roster at the Trade Deadline, adding Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Paul Gaustad and then orchestrated the late-season return of forward Alexander Radulov.
Earlier in the season, Poile secured Nashville’s future between the pipes by signing 2011 and 2012 Vezina finalist Pekka Rinne to the largest contract in franchise history (7 years/$49 million). He also achieved some career milestones of his own, becoming the only GM in League history to record at least 1,000 games (November 12th) and at least 500 wins (March 30th) with two different clubs.
Rinne earned his second consecutive nomination as a Vezina Trophy finalist, after finishing second to Boston’s Tim Thomas in 2011. The 6-foot-5-inch Kempele, Finland native posted a franchise record and League-leading 43 wins after playing a career-high 73 games – no other goalie played more games this season.
In addition to his 43 victories, he ranked among the NHL’s top netminders with a 2.39 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and five shutouts. Rinne led the League in shots faced (2,153) and saves (1,987), while ranking second in starts (72) and minutes played (4,168:52).
Weber is also a back-to-back award finalist after finishing second to Nicklas Lidstrom in 2011 Norris Trophy voting in the closest vote since 1993 (Chris Chelios/Ray Bourque).
The Sicamous, B.C., native ranked near the top of several categories, placing sixth in scoring among all defensemen with 49 points (19g-30a), with his 19 goals tied with fellow Norris finalist Erik Karlsson for first place.
Nashville’s Captain also ranked fifth in the NHL in average ice time per game (26:09), tied a career high and led all defensemen with 10 power-play goals and posted a team-leading and career-best +21 rating.
Hank Bonecutter spent forty years in broadcasting as a talk-show host, journalist, writer, and producer. He is president of www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com, and is a contributing author/journalist for .an advertising consulting and media firm. He owns
Hank is former owner/general manager of Wjzm radio, Clarksville TN, and produced the longest running morning radio talk show in Clarksville, “The Bone Show.”
Hank is also a stand-up comedian, having performed at some of the top comedy clubs in Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia. He produced a series of Clarksville comedy shows called “Comedy on the Cumberland,” that raised money for Clarksville area charities.
You can follow Hank on Facebook and Twitter, @bonecutter01 and @boneheadnews.
TopicsAlexander Radulov, Andrei Kostitsyn, Chris Chelios, David Poile, Detroit Red Wings, Erik Karlsson, Francis Bouillon, general manager of the year, Glendale AZ, hal gill, jobing.com arena, Martin Erat, Matt Halischuk, Nashville Predators, Nashville TN, National Hockey League, NHL, NHL Western Conference Semifinals, Nicklas Lidstrom, norris trophy, Patric Hornqvist, Paul Gaustad, Pekka Rinne, Phoenix Coyotes, Predators, Ray Bourque, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Stanley Cup Playoffs, vizena trophy, western conference semi finals
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