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Nashville Predators host Phoenix Coyotes for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals
Posted By Hank Bonecutter On Thursday, May 3, 2012 @ 8:00 pm In Sports | No Comments
Nashville, TN – After a much needed win Wednesday night, clouded with player controversy, the Nashville Predators return to the Bridgestone Arena Friday night to try to even their playoff series with the Phoenix Coyotes, in game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Looking like the Predators of old, and without two of their stars, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, the Predators used solid defense to get scoring opportunities and won their first game of the series 2-1.
Predators General Manager David Poile announced on Tuesday that the two Russian players, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, would be suspended for game 3, causing what little controversy surrounds this NHL franchise. Reportedly the two were seen after curfew in the early morning hours of Sunday, before game 2 in Phoenix.
Led by their captain Shea Weber, the team rallied around Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz’s decision to suspend the players, and stood together Wednesday night for a much needed win. Nashville could not afford to go down three games to the Coyotes, and could get even Friday night.
Pekka Rinne turned aside all 32 shots faced in Game Three to record the first postseason shutout of his career. It was the first Predators playoff whitewash since Tomas Vokoun blanked the Detroit Red Wings in Game Four of the 2004 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Rinne improved to 5-3 with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in eight games this postseason.
David Legwand became the first Predator to record multiple game-winners in a single playoff year, with his game-winning goal at 8:10 of the first period. He scored the game-winner in Game Five vs Detroit. Only four other players in the 2012 playoffs have multiple game-winning goals.
It was Legwand’s third goal of the postseason, tying him for the team lead. The goal also gives him 10 points in his last 12 playoff outings dating back to Game Two of the 2011 Western Conference Semifinals vs. Vancouver Canucks.
In Game Three, the line of Mike Fisher, Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn returned to the form that saw them lead the Predators offense through the second half of the regular season. Fisher notched his first goal of the playoffs at the 9:16 mark of the opening period. That goal gives him 39 career postseason points, the most of any current Predator. Fisher has points in back-to-back games for the second time this postseason after recording an assist in Game Two.
Erat collected his franchise-leading 15th postseason assist on Fisher’s goal. he ranks second to David Legwand on the franchise’s all-time playoff points, goals, and games played lists. Erat has two points in the series thus far. Kostitsyn tallied the primary assist on Fisher’s goal; it was his first point since scoring the game-winning goal in Game Three vs Detroit.
“Smashville” is expected to be “rocking” on lower Broadway, with game-time at 6:30pm on a Friday night. Fans are encouraged to arrive early, and beat the rush of traffic.
The game will be featured on the NBC Sports Network.
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