This last game was a first.
Every Nashville Predators’ playoff series has ended — one way or another — at Bridgestone Arena. Until now.
With a 2-1 loss Monday at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., Nashville’s second trip to the second round of the NHL playoffs ended in just five games.
The conclusion not only came far away from home but also fell well short of expectations.
The Predators looked poised for a deep playoff run after they earned the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with 104 points, seven more than Phoenix, bolstered the roster with aggressive activity at the trade deadline and dispatched the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.
Nashville is 1-7 all-time when faced with elimination in the postseason and enters the offseason with some significant personnel questions. Phoenix, a franchise long beset by ownership issues and relocation questions, is in the conference finals for the first time.
Colin Wilson scored with 5:59 to play, but it was too little too late for the Predators, who allowed a pair of second-period goals and struggled to solve Coyotes goalie Mike Smith for much of the series.
Wilson’s first career playoff goal snapped the longest scoreless streak in the franchise’s playoff history after 164 minutes, 41 seconds. That easily surpassed the previous record of 119:03 without a goal set a year ago, the majority of it in the first two games of the conference semifinals against Vancouver.
Forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn returned to the lineup after having missed the previous two games, the first because of disciplinary reasons. They played the majority of the game on the same line, with center Nick Spaling in between, and combined for three shots on goal, but failed to provide any sort of significant offensive boost.
Nashville outshot Phoenix for just the second time in the series and by a wide margin, 32-17. Smith, however, turned aside 89 of 92 shots he faced in the last three games.
The Coyotes got on the board when defenseman Derek Morris scored at 3:54 of the second period. They stretched their advantage to two goals with 4:51 to play in the second when center Martin Hanzal got his second goal of the series.