The Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Nashville Predators on Friday night by a final score of 1-0 and are now just one victory away from reaching the Western Conference finals. They hold a 3-1 lead in the conference semifinals of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jordan Ellel at Five For Howling had this to say regarding the victory:
The Phoenix Coyotes didn't exactly impose their will tonight on the Nashville Predators, but they did play a game that was exactly what was needed in the situation. Mike Smith recorded his seventh shutout following a loss this season, as the Coyotes take a very impressive 3-1 lead in the best of seven series with a chance to close it out on Monday night in Glendale. Shane Doan had the only goal for the Coyotes on a deflected puck that got past Pekka Rinne.
In the third period, Nashville thought they had finally solved Smith, but the play was blown dead as Mike Fisher crashed into Smith and pushed him and the puck into the net. The referee clearly lost track of the puck (for good reason), but in his postgame interview that was with Luke Lapinski, the referee also told Smith that he was blowing it dead because Smith had no chance to play the puck. Nice to see that call made on the Coyotes behalf for once when it hasn't all season (think Jason LaBarbera against Columbus with Dorsett sitting on top of him). I'm sure Nashville fans were a bit upset, but I think this was absolutely the right call.
Coyotes fans should be excited, as the team is just five wins away from playing for Lord Stanley's cup. They'll have a chance to clinch -- on home ice -- on Monday.
For more news and information regarding the Phoenix Coyotes, please visit Five For Howling. For updates and perspective on the Nashville Predators, head on over to On The Forecheck. For complete coverage of the 2012 NFL Stanley Cup playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.