The Nashville Predators are taking full advantage of their home-ice edge in Game 3. The Predators put in two goals just over a minute apart to go into the locker room up two goals on the Phoenix Coyotes.
It has been nearly impossible to pin a mistake on Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith this playoff season, but the Smith made a costly mistake early in Game 3.
The usually sure-handed Smith grabbed a stray puck and passed it behind his own net. Unfortunately for Smith, the Predators forecheck was closing hard. The puck went straight onto the stick of Gabriel Bourque and he fed it to a wide open David Legwand in the slot who had no problem putting it away on a nearly empty net.
The goal was Legwand's third of the 2012 NHL playoffs.
Nashville's next strike would come just over a minute later. The Predators were pressuring hard on the forecheck yet again and forced Mikkel Boedker to turn the puck over. Martin Erat found a wide open Sergei Kostitsyn sitting behind the Coyotes defense, and he then passed it over to Mike Fisher who attempted to feed it back to Kostitsyn. Fisher's pass did not make it through, but instead took a bad bounce off Smith's goalie stick and into the net.
The Predators nearly had a third goal, but the referees ruled that Smith was pushed into the net while covering the puck, making the goal illegal.
Both teams went 0-2 on power plays during the period.
The Coyotes are not playing a bad game, despite being down 2-0. They have had their chances, but are also giving Nashville too many chances of their own. There is still plenty of time left for the Coyotes to mount a comeback effort.
Michal Rozsival is back in the lineup for the Coyotes, while Lauri Korpikoski (undisclosed reason) and David Schlemko are scratches.