When the Nashville Predators returned home for game three of their best of seven series with the Phoenix Coyotes, they found themselves down two games to none, and in desperate need of a win to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination by Coyotes. They needed their star players to step up and lead by example, but instead of focusing on getting back in the series, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn violated the teams curfew rules. With arguably the most important game of the season to date up next, what would be the right action from the Preds organization? Head Coach Barry Trotz and Nashville’s management decided to make a statement by showing no one is too important to get away with not giving their all to the team, and everyone needs to be onboard and focused. Both Radulov who led the team in scoring so far this post season with seven points, and Kostitsyn were suspended for game three, leaving many wondering if the Preds season was about to come to an end.
The team understood the message loud and clear and came out to send a statement of their own. They were ready to show the hockey world they were not about to lay down and go out so easily. Nashville needed the big guns to step up in game three and they did as David Legwand and Mike Fisher scored goals just 1:06 apart before the halfway point of the opening frame to give Nashville a 2-0 lead. The Preds had delivered their message early and Vezina nominee Pekka Rinne continued to get the team’s point across throughout the contest as he held the fort and shut out the Coyotes to give Nashville the much-needed victory.