By Teresa M. Walker
The Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Craig Smith, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Ellis scored in the second period, and the Nashville Predators beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 Tuesday night to snap a three-game skid at home.
Pekka Rinne made 24 saves as Nashville avoided being swept by Arizona this season, though the Coyotes did take the series 2-1.
Roman Josi scored an empty-net goal with 2:50 left and had two assists, Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and Ellis also had an assist.
Forsberg snapped Nashville’s 0-for-34 power-play drought with his goal, the Predators’ first goal with the man advantage since Jan. 9 in a win at Chicago and first at home since a loss to the Rangers on Dec. 29.
Vinnie Hinostroza and Derek Stepan scored for Arizona, which finished a six-game swing with a fourth straight loss.
The Coyotes played their second game in as many nights without eight regulars due to injuries, and Calvin Pickard started in his 100th career NHL game with goalie Darcy Kuemper day-to-day with an upper body injury.
These teams hadn’t met since the end of November, and Nashville managed only a goal in the two losses to Arizona.
The Coyotes’ luck appeared to continue as Pickard made a stop on Forsberg late in the first period with the puck bouncing off his head and over the net, then the Coyotes went the other way with Hinostroza beating Rinne with a wrister from the slot at 16:59.
Arizona had a 5-on-3 for 41 seconds in the first minute of the second period after Nashville captain Roman Josi cleared the puck over the glass, hitting a child behind the penalty box. The child walked out on his own with his family a few minutes later, and Nashville killed the penalties. Then Smith scored his 15th goal this season and first in a month on a wrister off a rebound at 2:58, tying it up for Nashville.
The Predators, who came in with a lengthy scoring drought with the man advantage, failed to convert on their first two power plays to extend the skid to 0 of 34. Hinostroza went to the box for holding Predators forward Kevin Fiala, and Nashville finally converted. Josi found Forsberg, whose wrister from the top of the right circle beat Pickard’s glove at 7:45 for a 2-1 leadagainst what had been the NHL’s stingiest on the penalty kill.
Then Ellis made it 3-1 at 13:37 of the period off a rebound as Nashville outshot the Coyotes 19-6 in the second.
Stepan pulled Arizona within 3-2 at 4:19 of the third, scoring on a wraparound.
Nashville improved to 9-16-3 when allowing the first goal this season and 6-12-2 when trailing after one. The Predators are 26-2-0 when leading after two periods … Arizona had only allowed 22 power-play goals this season, fewest in the NHL.
Coyotes: Host Columbus on Thursday night.
Predators: Host Dallas on Thursday night.