Yanic Perreault broke a third-period tie with 5:29 left, lifting the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Stationed to the left of the Nashville net, Perreault redirected defenceman Nick Boynton's pass behind goalie Tomas Vokoun. That snapped a 2-2 deadlock and helped Phoenix end its two-game losing streak with a win over the NHL's top team.
"If you're going to have success against really good teams like (Nashville), you have to have everybody going in the same direction," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We received a tremendous effort out of our top players."
Nashville built leads in the first and third periods, but couldn't hold off the Coyotes. After dropping a 4-3 decision Tuesday in Colorado, the Predators have lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
They started the season with three straight losses.
"We had created a little cushion for us, and teams are starting to catch up to us," said Nashville forward Steve Sullivan, who had two points. "We're heading home now and have a big game with Anaheim (on Saturday).
"I would say, at this point, we're not scoreboard watching, but we do read the papers and check out how Detroit, Anaheim and Buffalo in the East, are doing."
Sullivan scored a short-handed goal and assisted on Jason Arnott's power-play tally in the third for Nashville.
Jeremy Roenick had a goal and assisted on Perreault's winner for the Coyotes, who erased two, one-goal deficits.
In the first, Scott Hartnell stripped Phoenix defenceman Zbynek Michalek of the puck at centre. Sullivan got free on the right side and created a 2-on-1 break. Hartnell gave Sullivan a perfect pass to the right of the Phoenix net, and the Predators' alternate captain easily beat Curtis Joseph at 3:34.
The Coyotes tied it later in the period following a similar mistake.
Coming from behind his net on the right side, Nashville defenceman Shea Weber was checked off the puck by Steven Reinprecht. Roenick, charging down the slot, drove the loose puck behind Vokoun at 11:16.
The Predators took a 2-1 lead in the third on Arnott's goal at 5:29. Phoenix tied it when Shane Doan's rebound of Mike Zigomanis' shot from the left circle at 8:43.
Doan's tying goal put the Coyotes in a favourable position, from which, they took advantage.
"It's good for us to get a win after having the lead (Wednesday at Anaheim) and losing," Doan said. "We needed to find a way to win, and it sets up the next game to get back to .500."
The Predators are not in the habit of blowing leads.
"We have been great in close games, and that's why we have the record we do," coach Barry Trotz said. "No excuse for what happened.
"We didn't respond for a full 60 minutes."
Notes: Sullivan's short-handed goal was his team-leading third of the season and the 20th of his career . . . Roenick posted his first multi-point game since he had a hat trick against San Jose on Dec. 30 . . . Joseph earned his 441st NHL victory, six behind Terry Sawchuk for fourth on the career list . . . Doan's goal was his 189th as a member of the Winnipeg-Phoenix franchise, fifth in franchise history.