The Arizona Coyotes bounce back in win against Nashville Predators


Sarah Hall/SCC

The Coyotes and Predators hit the ice before the game.

Sarah Hall, Reporter

The Coyotes, who lost 6-1 in Detroit on Tuesday night, were looking for a bounce-back game against the Nashville Predators and were able to find it.

The first game of the five-game homestand put them back in the win column and added another win to the young season. Last season they didn’t have their ninth win of the season until Dec. 27, 2017, against the Colorado Avalanche, 39 games into the season.

During the first period, the Coyotes were outshot by the Predators, but the league-leading penalty kill came to play and didn’t disappoint again tonight.

The Coyotes got onto the board on Michael Grabner’s fourth shorthanded goal of the season, 1-0 Coyotes. The period continued to go back and forth. Grabner’s goal is his fifth of the season and fourth shorthanded. Six of his ten points come while he has been on the penalty kill.

In the second period, the Coyotes were opportunistic again as they managed to hold back the offensive push of the Predators. They were able to enter the zone, Christian Fischer dropped a pass to Jason Demers who wired it past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, 2-0 Coyotes.

In the third period the Predators finally broke through, Nick Bonino was able to make it 2-1 with a screened shot with less than 8 minutes left. Coyotes Defenseman Jason Demers went down with an injury in the last minutes of the game, not being able to put weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice.

The Coyotes were able to keep the Predators off the scoresheet for the rest of the game with five defensemen in the lineup.

Demers injury adds to the defensive casualties of Jakob Chychrun and Alex Goligoski.

“That team is built to win a Stanley Cup and we beat them 2-1. It was a little ugly, but the PK and Kuemps (Darcy Kuemper) won us the game,” Rick Tocchet said after the game.

Darcy Kuemper had a 44 save game, only allowing the one goal for a .977 save percentage for the evening.

Michael Grabner and the Coyotes penalty kill is the top of the league, killing penalties at a staggering 90.6 percent. They have only allowed 5 power play goals and have scored 10 shorthanded goals for a +5 goal differential, which has not been done since they started tracking the stat.

“He knows when the PK is applying pressure, where to go, where is the most likely place the puck will go,” Tocchett said of Michael Grabner.

“The Psychology of it, and I’m a PP guy so I know, you got the extra guy and you’re out there. You’re making plays and setting up. But if you miss the net, or there is a bobbled puck, Grabs has got that speed where he can take off,” Tocchet said.

“He can put the fear of God in some people, and he’s done that this year.”