Waved-off goal leaves Predators trailing 3-1 in series against Phoenix
The Nashville Predators find themselves in a familiar situation, down 3-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals. A season ago, Nashville was eliminated from the postseason by the Vancouver Canucks in 6 games during the second round of the playoffs.
Mike Smith, and the Phoenix Coyotes, shut out Nashville by a 1-0 score to push the Predators to the brink of elimination.
Phoenix Captain Shane Doan scored the game’s only tally at 14:25 into the opening frame. The puck deflected off of rookie defenseman Roman Josi and into the Predators net.
The Predators thought they had tied the game late in the third period, but for the second time in consecutive games, a Nashville goal was called back by the referee.
The puck was shoved past Smith during a scrum in front of the net, but the referee immediately called the goal off.
“He blew the whistle before the puck went over the line. It was the same as on Wednesday night. It was a good call. There is nothing you can do,” Nashville forward Patric Hornqvist said.
Hornqvist didn’t hear the whistle.
“No, he looked at it so he probably saw that the whistle blew before the puck went over the line. There is nothing you can do about it. It’s just part of the game. We have to work hard to score those goals,” he said.
During his post-game press conference, Head Coach Barry Trotz said another explanation had been given for waving off the goal.
“They went through our captain and said that Hornqvist pushed the goaltender into the net. If you look at it, I don’t buy that. That has been a couple [waved-off goals] in this series already, and we had one in Detroit, too. It’s not really going our way with those,” he said.
While Nashville had a goal waved off in the third period, it also took the Predators an entire period to really get into the game. The Predators registered only 5 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes.
Nashville also missed the net on the scoring opportunities they did generate in the second period. Hornqvist was unable to capitalize on two scoring chances right in front of the Phoenix net.
“I have to score. If I get that opportunity, I have to put one in the back of the net to get us to overtime. It was bad. I tried to get it up. I’m so close to him. He’s so big. I tried to get it over [him]. I missed the net. And then when [David Legwand] gave [the puck] to me backdoor, I didn’t really see it. It was bouncing. I couldn’t finish, and one hit the post. That happens. Now we need to get three games in a row.”
The Predators were without Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn. The two forwards were healthy scratches after being suspended by the team for Game 3 due to missing their curfew.
“I think the guys that were in the lineup played great,” Captain Shea Weber said. “We fought hard, and we just need to do better next time.”
“I don’t think I have to defend it,” Trotz said about the decision to sit the offensive-minded forwards. “A guy like Colin Wilson, who was very good, has more points than Kostitsyn for the year. I don’t think that’s much of a trade-off. You can say ‘what if,’ maybe they could have made a difference, but we’ll never know that. The guys that played, played well, and created lots of chances; we just had to bury one.”
Nashville will try to avoid being eliminated from the playoffs on Monday night when the Coyotes host the Predators at 9 pm CDT in Glendale, Arizona.
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