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Reversal of Fortune – Mike Smith shuts the door and push Nashville to the brink of elimination


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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mike Strasinger

After dropping Game 3 by a 2-0 score, the Phoenix Coyotes needed to find a way to beat Pekka Rinne and silence the Nashville faithful.

They only needed one goal to do it.

Scoring on a flukey bounce with 5:35 left in the first period, Shane Doan’s tally and Mike Smith’s 25 save shutout led the way for the Phoenix Coyotes who have pushed the Predators to the brink of elimination leading the best of seven series 3 games to 1

Nashville had their fair share of chances throughout the game, but just couldn’t solve the Mike Smith riddle that Chicago faced in the first round. After scoring a combined 8 goals on Smith in the first 3 games, he now holds a 114 minute shutout against the Predators.

The Predators will have to now win 3 straight, two in Glendale and one back in Nashville, if they want to taste the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.

While Barry Trotz will be heavily criticized for scratching Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 4 after their team-imposed one game suspension, keeping the winning line-up from Game 3 in and making no changes didn’t work out for Nashville tonight as the Coyotes defensively stoned the Predators.

Another couple of factors that cost them? The powerplay and faceoffs.

Nashville only won 10 of 25 offensive zone faceoffs tonight (employing the services of David Legwand and Mike Fisher to take faceoffs late in the game rather than Paul Gaustad) and going 0-3 on the powerplay (now 0-23 on the powerplay at home during this playoff run).

Ultimately, you can point a lot of fingers tonight at a lot of different things, however the blame can only be placed on the team themselves for not converting the chances that they had. Nashville will have to scrape the barrel now and see if they can win in the desert and force a Game 6.

They did it last year against Vancouver (ultimately losing at home), but can they do it again?

We’ll find out late Monday night, all you can do now is hope their is some gas in the tank, the dream isn’t over, and the “All In” mentality won’t go all-for-naught.

Stay posted over the weekend and we’ll have some more for you to chew on before Monday night’s Game 5.