It's a possible elimination night for the Nashville Predators, not a place that they perhaps thought they would be in this years edition of the NHL playoffs.
The Preds, who have been beat at their own game thus far by the Phoenix Coyotes, need to gather three consecutive wins to stave of elimination, a tough enough task at the best of times, made even harder for Nashville owing to some of the underlying factors of their second round playoff series.
Beyond the obvious of the Radulov/Kostitsyn suspensions and whether management will put the two back in the line up for Game 5 in Phoenix, the Preds seem to have allowed the Coyotes to play their style of play, which at times seems like a mirror image of the Coyotes, one they didn't seem to have much of an answer for over the first four games of the series.
Goals for the most part haven't been a problem, neither team appears ready to play pond hockey any time soon, but when it counts, that being the end of the game on three of four occasions, the Coyotes have had more even if it is just one, than the Preds and that's making for a lot of angst in Music City.
If the Predators are looking for a bit of good news heading into Game 5, perhaps word that the Coyotes Rusty Klesla has been suspended for tonight's game will be of interest, a hole that the Coyotes may struggle to fill as they seek to close out the Preds.
Phoenix so far has seized the moment as they say, a team that few anticipated would have much success in the playoffs and was to many destined for a move after they got out of the way in the playoffs, suddenly is gathering attention both in Arizona (always a welcome to latecomers we imagine) and across the NHL.
And really if we all look at the play in this series, the Coyotes perhaps shouldn't even be close, the Predators have had their chances to score, Mike Smith the Coyotes goaltender the key to this series so far, his stellar work in the nets and GAA of 1.90 tell you all you need to know about how the Coyotes are doing.
Smith saves their series in their own end of the net and the Coyotes hang around long enough to get a couple of goals to win a game, before you know it, it's 3 game to 1 for the desert dogs and the Predators are staring a season near end and a lot of questions to answer over an off season.
The Preds look to defer those conversations for at least another night with Game 5 tonight.
Game 5-- Nashville 1 at Phoenix 2
COYOTES WIN the series 4 games to 1
Previews and Reviews
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes defeat Nashville Predators, advance to ...
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes, fans deserving of 'passionate' owner
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes near ownership deal with optimism
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators were outmatched by Phoenix Coyotes
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators face cold truth: "We're done"
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators couldn't beat Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators' Colin Wilson scores only goal in loss
The Tennessean-- Postgame ponderings
Globe and Mail-- Preds' GM Poile left to pick up the pieces in Nashville
Globe and Mail-- Coyotes eliminate Predators in five games
National Post-- Coyotes dismiss Predators, punch ticket to first conference finals
National Post-- Predators left wondering what could have been
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes remaining poised with series clincher at hand
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Rusty Klesla suspended for Game 5
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes' persistent Mikkel Boeker going on the offensive
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators face daunting task to salvage series
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators' attitude should be one of desperation
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators plan more lineup changes
The Tennessean-- Nashville Predators' Andrei Kostitsyn guarantees better offense
The Tennessean-- Phoenix Coyotes, without Rostislav Klesla, look to close out series
Globe and Mail-- Coyotes looking to close out Predators
Gobe and Mail-- Hurdles remain in Phoenix Coyotes deal
National Post-- Coyotes keep finding new ways to win
National Post-- Is winning enough to keep Coyotes in Phoenix?
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