Sun, May 06, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Coyotes push the Predators to brink

SINGLE-GOAL GAME:Shane Doan scored the only goal as Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith shut out an outplayed Nashville to take a 3-1 lead in the series

AP, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Nashville Predators center Paul Gaustad, left, and Phoenix Coyotes center Kyle Chipchura fight in the first period during Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final playoffs in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

The Phoenix Coyotes moved within one win of a place in the NHL Western Conference finals by beating the Nashville Predators 1-0 on Friday, taking a 3-1 lead in the semi-final series.

Shane Doan scored the sole goal in the first period and goaltender Mike Smith made 25 saves to help preserve that advantage.

Nashville played without forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for a second straight game. Their team suspension for curfew violation was over, but coach Barry Trotz decided to stick with the lineup that won the previous game.

They sorely missed the pair, though Nashville thought it tied the game with seven minutes, 12 seconds remaining. However, officials waved off the power-play goal because a whistle blew before the puck crossed the line.

Phoenix improved to 4-1 on the road in the postseason, and outskated and outshot Nashville from the start, coming with much more energy.

Doan scored on a backhander as he skated across the slot and got a nice bounce off goalie Pekka Rinne’s pad and over across the line at 14:25 of the first.

With Smith in net, Doan’s goal proved to be more than enough with the way the Coyotes played in front of him. They blocked 10 of Nashville’s first 15 shots, and Smith either covered up or gloved the others.

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