Goals. Everybody loves them in soccer and hockey. Mikkel Boedker thrilled the home crowd with a beauty of a goal at the 17:27 mark of the second period, and it has the Phoenix Coyotes ahead 3-2 after two periods of play in Game 1 of the second round of the NHL playoffs against the Nashville Predators.
Let's start with how the period ended. The Predators bombarded Phoenix goalie Mike Smith with several quality shots, but either missed or had them saved. Then the Coyotes' Antoine Vermette was given 2:00 for holding right at the final buzzer, so the Predators will start the third period on a power play.
That came after Boedker moved up the ice with the puck, stopped and faked a centering pass and shot it past Pekka Rinne to give the Coyotes a 3-2 lead. It is the goal of the night so far.
It's another goalkeeper's battle for the most part, but Smith seems to have come up with the better saves.
The Coyotes took a 2-1 lead just a few minutes into the period when Rostislav Klesla's first shot deflected off a Nashville defender in front of the goal, then right back to Klesla who sent the puck past Rinne.
After the Coyotes killed off another penalty, the Predators got a strange goal. Smith couldn't hang onto a loose puck and it came out to Andrei Kostitsyn, who nudged it past a sprawled out Smith at 11:19 of the period.
Shots on goal are just about even. The Preds have 18, the Coyotes 17. For once at home, the other team isn't totally outshooting the Coyotes the way Chicago did in the first rounds. And once again the question is asked -- can the Coyotes hang onto this lead and close without going to overtime?
It's time for the fans to sing "Sweet Caroline."