Coyotes solidify fourth place by edging Preds…

The Coyotes were trying to lock up 4th place.

The Predators were trying to make 4th place possible.

Phoenix prevailed behind goals from Lauri KorpikoskiWojtek WolskiTaylor Pyatt and Petteri Nokelainen as they beat Nashville 5-2 in front of 17,136 at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. With the win, the Coyotes locked up the fourth place spot in the Western Conference. With the loss, the Preds’ hopes of having home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs were officially dashed.

Coyotes Captain Shane Doan also scored for Phoenix. It was his first goal in 24 games.

It may not seem like it on paper but Pekka Rinne kept Nashville in this one. The 27 year old netminder made several solid saves in key moments and was pretty much hung out to dry on the first two Coyotes goals. He finished the game with 25 saves, including seven while Phoenix was on the power play.

Both teams were pretty awful with the man advantage. The Coyotes got the first three power plays of the game and registered seven shots and no goals. The Predators then got two of their own (including a 5-on-3 for 0:53) but failed to register a single shot. Steve Sullivan‘s power play tally in the third period was the only bright spot for either team’s special team units on this night.

Shea Weber put the Preds on the board early. So early, in fact, that he set a new franchise record for fastest goal from the start of a road game. Captain Jason Arnott, playing in his first game in two weeks, won the face-off back to Ryan Suter who immediately tossed it to Weber. “The Beast” one-timed it past Ilya Bryzgalov to tally the goal just 0:12 into the contest.

Bryzgalov, the front runner for this year’s Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender, ended up with 23 saves on 25 Predators shots.

The final game of the regular season for the Predators is this Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues. When the schedule makers made this the last game of the year for both clubs, they probably thought it’d be a battle for 8th in the West.

Sorry St. Louis.

GAME NOTES:
* Patric Hornqvist was hit by one of Weber’s cannon shots, did not play in the third period. He also got two vicious slashes from Ed Jovanovski just before the Weber shot hit him. Injury could’ve happened on either instance.
* Former Pred, and current Coyote, Vern Fiddler became a dad earlier in the day. He celebrated by getting blasted by a Weber slap shot in the first period and then a Weber wrister in the final minutes of play.
* This was the fourth time these two teams have met this season. All four meetings took place in the calendar year of 2010.
* Nashville was absolutely terrible in the face-off circle tonight, only winning 38% of the draws.
* Jerred Smithson, David Legwand and Weber each finished with a team low minus-3.
* Weber had nine total shots tonight. Four on goal, three blocked and two that missed the net.