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Coyotes take 3-1 series lead over Predators
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Mike Smith made 25 saves to earn his second shutout of the postseason and the Phoenix Coyotes edged the Nashville Predators, 1-0, in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Shane Doan netted the game's lone goal to give Phoenix a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The Coyotes will have a chance to wrap up the series in the desert on Monday.
"The game went exactly how we anticipated," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought it was going to be tightly contested, maybe a break here or there gives one team an edge, and that's exactly what happened."
Pekka Rinne made 23 saves in a losing effort for Nashville.
After each team failed to capitalize on a power play within the first 10 minutes of action, Phoenix was able to net the game's only goal at the 14:25 mark of the first period when Doan came out of a scrum near the left boards with the puck and cruised towards the net.
He then sent a backhander from the slot that deflected off the stick of Predators defenseman Roman Josi in front before sailing over the stick of Rinne.
Nashville was later awarded a brief power play when Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal was whistled for interference during a Phoenix man advantage, but the Predators would not be able to net the equalizer and Smith shut the door on an offensive flurry in the closing seconds to keep it a 1-0 game entering the second period.
The Predators controlled the majority of action in the second and had several scoring chances, including Patric Hornqvist hitting the post on a wrister from the left circle, but could not find a way to solve Smith as the goaltender stopped all 10 shots sent his way in the frame to keep Nashville off the board.
Nashville continued to press in the third and managed to push the puck into the net during a power play past the midpoint of the period, but the goal was waved off by the referee as the whistled had blown before the disc crossed the goal line.
The Predators then pulled Rinne with about a minute to play for an extra attacker, but the Coyotes defense remained strong and Nashville could not get a shot on net until a last-second effort was turned aside by Smith to cap the shutout.
"They had a good start to their game and after that we got it going. In the second and third we played really well, but we just couldn't get it by [Smith]," said Rinne.
Nashville forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were both kept out of the lineup for the second straight game after being suspended for Game 3 for violating team rules...Phoenix improved to 4-1 on the road in the playoffs, while Nashville fell to 3-2 at home...The Predators went 0-for-3 on the power play...The Coyotes were 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
05/04 23:56:24 ET