GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 29: Taylor Pyatt #14 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a second period goal against the Nashville Predators in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on April 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Coyotes Vs. Predators, Game 2: Phoenix Takes 2-0 Series Lead

The Phoenix Coyotes take a 2-0 lead to Nashville after they pulled off an impressive 5-3 victory in Game 2.

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Predators Vs. Coyotes, Game 2: Blueline Production Key In Phoenix Win

The Coyotes realized they'd need to do better in terms of puck possession in Game 2. They did just that, and the inclusion of their defensemen in the offensive game was a major part of the improved pressure on the Predators' defense.


Coyotes Vs. Predators, NHL Playoffs 2012 Game 2: Phoenix Wins 5-3, Takes 2-Game Series Lead

The Phoenix Coyotes have defended their home ice with two great performances in Arizona in the first two games of their Western Conference semifinal series, and perhaps just as importantly, they have figured out Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. The Coyotes offense was able to score and create shots in bunches for the second straight game, and they take a 2-0 lead to Nashville after pulling off a 5-3 victory in Game 2.

Phoenix was in control from start to finish, but they let Nashville keep the game close with one breakaway goals and two goals on the power play. Antoine Vermette scored the first goal of the game early in the first period, capitalizing on a great pass by Keith Yandle, but Nashville would tie the game before the intermission. On their only great scoring chance of the first period, Kevin Klein set up Andrei Kostitsyn on a two-on-one break, and he finished off the move to make it 1-1.

The Coyotes took the lead back with two goals in just over seven minutes to start the third period, with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata scoring the goals. Phoenix appeared to be fully in control of the game until Ray Whitney was whistled for a penalty halfway through the second period, which led to a power play goal by Patric Hornqvist to cut the Coyotes' lead to 3-2. They retook a two-goal lead just 30 seconds later, thanks to Taylor Pyatt, who batted a rebound out of the air and into the back of the net for a goal.

Two penalties at the end of the second period set up a four-on-four, and that quickly became a four-on-three for Nashville when Vrbata was whistled for interference 22 seconds into the third period. Nashville capitalized and cut Phoenix's lead to one goal again through Ryan Suter, assisted by Shea Weber and Martin Erat.

Once again, Phoenix answered quickly. Shane Doan scored 3:36 into the third period, doing a great job to deflect a shot by Derek Morris to give Rinne very little chance to react and make a save.

With a two-goal lead in the third period, the Coyotes began to play a slightly more conservative style of hockey. They locked things up and went totally defensive with around six minutes remaining, and Nashville had no answer. They pulled Rinne and brought on a sixth skater with well over two minutes remaining, but couldn't find a goal to get back into the game.

For more on the two teams, check in with Predators blog On the Forecheck and Coyotes blog Five For Howling.


Coyotes Vs. Predators, NHL Playoffs 2012 Game 2: Phoenix Takes Control, Leads 4-2

After a fairly dominant first period in which they allowed the Nashville Predators to tie the game going into the first intermission, the Phoenix Coyotes did a much better job of turning their dominance into goals in the second period. They scored three times, but the Preds aren't out of it yet. They scored once on the power play in the second period, and the Coyotes lead 4-2 at the second intermission of Game 2.

Phoenix reclaimed the lead just 3:47 into the second period with a tap-in by Martin Hanzal, set up by some fantastic play from Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata. Whitney started the move up the ice with a great pass to Vrbata, who blew by multiple defenders, then played a great pass from behind the net, through the legs of Pekka Rinne to find Hanzal.

Vrbata added a goal of his own a few minutes later to put Phoenix up 3-1, but the Coyotes would quickly throw away their two-goal lead. Whitney was called for slashing 9:24 into the period and the Predators capitalized through a Patric Hornqvist goal on the ensuing power play.

Just as quickly as the Coyotes gifted the Predators a goal, they earned one right back. Taylor Pyatt scored just 30 seconds after Hornqvist's goal in fantastic fashion, hitting a one-time shot out of midair after Rinne gave up a bad rebound on a Shane Doan shot.

Just 10 seconds before the period ended, Keith Yandle was called for slashing Mike Fisher. That should have given Nashville a minute and 50 seconds of power play time to start the third period, but Fisher retaliated after the whistle and was called for roughing, negating the power play.

For more on the two teams, check in with Predators blog On the Forecheck and Coyotes blog Five For Howling.


Coyotes Vs. Predators, NHL Playoffs 2012 Game 2: Tied 1-1 At 1st Intermission

The Phoenix Coyotes took the lead early and controlled most of the first period of Game 2 against the Nashville Predators, but the Preds were able to find a goal late in the period. Phoenix have had more shots and have been aggressive on the forecheck, but got beat by a quick transition play with under three minutes remaining in the period to make it 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.

On both goals, the highlight was the primary assist much more than the shot. Antoine Vermette scored the opening goal for Phoenix 8:32 into the first period, with Keith Yandle making a spectacular pass to set him up for an easy tap-in.

Kevin Klein's assist to Andrei Kostitsyn on Nashville's goal was even better. It might have been more lucky than skillful, but it was spectacular-looking nonetheless. He reached behind his back to play a great pass to Kostitsyn, who got by Shane Doan to create a two-on-one for his team and finished off the break with some great stick work and a shot poked past Mike Smith.

Even though they had a defensive lapse late to give up a goal to Nashville, the first period was a good one for the Coyotes. They were very physical and aggressive, tallying 19 hits to Nashville's seven, and they managed to stay out of the penalty box while doing it. The home crowd will be hoping they can keep it up and that Andrei Kostitsyn's goal didn't change the momentum of the game significantly.

For more on the two teams, check in with Predators blog On the Forecheck and Coyotes blog Five For Howling.


NHL Playoffs 2012, Coyotes Vs. Predators Game 2: Game Time, TV Coverage And More

The Phoenix Coyotes will look to take a 2-0 lead at home in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup against the Nashville Predators.

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