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Coyotes ruin Rinne’s birthday; Preds lose third straight…

They say it’s your birthday.

Well, it’s my birthday too, yeah.

(Well, okay, it’s wasn’t really Ed Jovanovski‘s birthday but it might as well been.)

The Phoenix Coyotes hosted the Nashville Predators tonight and won 4-3 on Jovanovski’s first career hat trick and 28 saves by Ilya Bryzgalov.

Pekka Rinne, who was celebrating his 28th birthday today, didn’t have his best night. He only stopped 24 Phoenix shots and, at least two of them, he’d probably love to have back.

Nashville got goals from Francis Bouillon, Sergei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist as well as two assists from Jordin Tootoo, but it wasn’t enough as they dropped their third straight.

The Coyotes struck first. Just 1:08 into the game, actually. Veteran defenseman Jovanovski flipped an innocent shot on goal — like it was supposed to be a dump-in — but both Martin Hanzal and Cal O’Reilly screened Pekka Rinne while the puck floated past him and in.

Nashville answered just seconds after their second power play of the night expired. Bouillon dumped a puck on net and, somehow, it found it’s way past Bryzgalov. There was some thought the scorekeepers may give the goal to Kostitsyn as he was planted in front and may have tipped it. In the end, it was “Cube’s” goal.

Kostitsyn would get one of his own just seconds later, however. On a great hustle play where he beat Adrian Aucoin to the puck and fired a shot past Bryzgalov, “SK74” notched his second of the year. The two goals in 0:30 stunned the 6,761 at Arena and had Nashville back in the contest. 

In the second period, it was deja vu of the first. 1:09 into the period, Jovanovski put yet another innocent shot towards Rinne. The puck went off of Bouillon’s stick, however, and over Rinne’s shoulder and under the crossbar. With the goal, Jovanovski scored his second goal of the game, both in the opening 1:10 of a period.

The Predators got the lead back thanks to the man advantage. On their first power play opportunity, they didn’t score but built the confidence with a strong attack that saw constant pressure. After building the confidence on the first one, the second man advantage produced results. O’Reilly, on the half-boards found Colin Wilson in the slot. Wilson wristed a shot on net and Hornqvist banged home the rebound to put Nashville up 3-2.

In the third stanza, Phoenix got on the board first once again. Lee Stempniak wristed a laser over Rinne’s shoulder to tie the game at three.

Then, on the very next Coyote power play just seconds later, Jovanovski scored his third of the game when he broke to the net and received a cross-ice pass from fellow veteran Ray Whitney. It was only fitting that Jovanovski, on the night of his first career NHL hat trick, would also tally the game-winner.

The Predators will try and get back in the win column on Saturday night in Los Angeles. That game is radio only so, unless you have Center Ice, you will not be able to watch the game.

Puck drops at 9:00pm Central.

* This was the first time in his NHL career that Bouillon wore the “A” on his sweater. He celebrated with his first goal of since March 29.
* The first three Phoenix goals, deflected or not, went over Rinne’s shoulders. The fourth slid under Rinne’s pads.
* Stempniak’s goal was his 100th career tally.
* On top of his two helpers, Tootoo was also a plus-2 on the night.
* David Legwand led all Preds with four shots on goal.
* Shea Weber logged the most ice time in a Nashville sweater (22:09).

1) Ed Jovanovski
2) Martin Hanzal
3) Sami Lepisto

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