Neal’s OT goal lifts skidding Predators over Coyotes 2-1
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Two weeks ago, the Nashville Predators had a six-point lead in the overall NHL standings.
Then came a season-worst six-game losing skid that dropped them behind Anaheim in the Western Conference. The losing came to an end on Monday night.
James Neal put in a rebound of Seth Jones’ shot 2:45 into overtime to give the Predators a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
Pekka Rinne made 27 saves and Nashville pulled into a tie atop the West with the Ducks at 91 points. The Coyotes have lost 11 of 12 home games and 12 of 13 overall.
”You never want to go through this thing, but hopefully it makes us better,” Rinne said. ”I don’t know if we got comfortable or what, but it’s a good learning experience for us. I’m just grateful that we’re still battling for the top spot.”
Coach Peter Laviolette was relieved that the Preds got their first win since Feb. 24.
”I don’t think that the intention was `Everybody take a deep breath and go to sleep for a couple of weeks,”’ Laviolette said. ”Guys want to win. They care.”
A fight between Arizona’s B.J. Crombeen and Nashville’s Mike Fisher set the stage for the game’s first goal. Paul Gaustad got a shot through traffic and past Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue at 16:34 of the second period.
Kyle Chipchura redirected a shot from John Moore at 7:27 of the third period to tie it 1-1.
Domingue started for the Coyotes over Mike Smith, three days after his 23rd birthday and made his home debut. He stopped 38 shots.
It was Domingue’s fourth game and second start of the season after being called up from the minors on Jan. 31.
Domingue stopped 13 shots in the first period but gave up Gaustad’s goal on the first one he faced of the second.
”He played a heck of a game for us,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of Domingue. ”We plan on getting him some games (before the season ends). That’s two starts in the NHL now and he’s got three out of four points.”
Arizona had a four-minute power play early in the third period after Shane Doan took a stick to the face from Neal. The Coyotes cashed in after a scoring drought that went back two games and nearly 130 minutes.
Doan returned to the ice just before Chipchura’s goal after briefly going to the locker room.
The Predators couldn’t take advantage of two late power plays. They were 0 for 5 on the advantage for the night but won for the third time in three meetings this season against the Coyotes.
”We had a lot of shots there at the end, so I finally got one and put it in and it felt good,” Neal said.
NOTES: Coyotes F Lauri Korpikoski missed sat out due to an upper-body injury. He is day to day. … The Coyotes recalled F Brendan Shinnimin from Portland of the AHL. Shinnimin, who took Korpikoski’s place in the line rotation, has been up with Arizona two other times this season and has played in 12 games. … D Connor Murphy was scratched due to illness and was replaced by Brandon Gormley. … The Predators started a four-game, seven-day West Coast trip, their second longest of the season.