The first period was a reverse of the first period from game two with Nashville dominating for the majority of it, outshooting Arizona 19-9. It was a very physical period with the Coyotes having 17 hits after having just 22 in the entirety of game one and 23 in game two. The Predators had 11 hits after they had just 15 in game one and 24 in game two.
Much like game two, we once again saw the team who got outplayed come away with the lead. At the 5:09 mark of the first, Christian Dvorak scored his second of the series after deflecting a shot from Niklas Hjalmarsson to make it 1-0. This was the Coyotes first shot after the Predators took the first eight of the game.
The Predators continued to pepper Kuemper but were denied at every turn. The Coyotes had more shots late in the first to challenge Juuse Saros, but the score remained 1-0 after one.
Play slowed down in the second as each team played tougher defense and didn’t allow nearly as many scoring chances. The Predators finally broke down the wall that is Darcy Kuemper as Viktor Arvidsson scored his second of the series. He rifled a slap shot blocker side from the exact spot that he did in game two.
Despite the very physical play, both teams managed to stay out of the box for the most part. Arvidsson’s high sticking penalty at the 10:41 mark was the only penalty against either team through the first 40 minutes. The Coyotes outshot the Predators 9-5 in the second, but the score remained 1-1 heading into the third.
The Predators appeared to strike first just over one minute into the third as Kyle Turris fired one home glove side. However, coach Rick Tocchet for Arizona challenged the play for offsides and was successful, keeping the game tied, 1-1.
After some back and forth, it was the Coyotes who finally broke through with their second. Leading goal scorer Conor Garland made a beautiful toe drag through the zone and sniped Saros to make it 2-1.
The Predators put on the pressure and started to fire shot after shot at Kuemper, but once again, they couldn’t find the back of the net. Then, the Predators’ 29th ranked penalty kill was put to the test after Craig Smith delivered a check to the head of Garland. Sure enough, the Coyotes struck as Taylor Hall scored his first of the series. He fired home a rebound from the left circle to make it 3-1 with 4:22 to play.
A few minutes later, the Coyotes officially sealed it as Carl Soderberg scored an empty netter to make it 4-1. A scrum broke out with 1:27 to play as the very physical game reached a boiling point. Predators’ captain Roman Josi got two minutes for roughing while Coyotes’ captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson got a double minor. That will be something to look for in-game four.
Kuemper made 39 saves and the Coyotes threw 34 hits as they take a 2-1 series lead over the Predators. Game four will take place on Friday, August 7th at 2:30 pm as the Coyotes look to take the series.
Follow me on Twitter at @paullymac7 for more of my content!
Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!