Rinne stops 29 shots as Predators beat Coyotes 2-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 11, 2014 at 1:10 am •  Published: April 11, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Pekka Rinne's milestone win dealt a serious blow to Phoenix's playoff hopes.

Rinne made 29 saves to lead the Nashville Predators to a 2-0 win over the Coyotes on Thursday night.

Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist scored for Nashville, which has won four of its last five.

"This group, as I have been saying all year, has a lot of character," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "There's only one way to play, and that's play the right way. This group plays the right way."

The Coyotes lost their sixth straight game and hurt their quest for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. Phoenix entered the day two points behind Dallas in the wild-card race. Both teams have two games remaining, including Sunday's season finale when Dallas visits Phoenix.

"Obviously, we need help now," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "You've got to get yourself rested and ready for the next game. We'll see where we are Saturday morning."

Phoenix will need to finish the season at least one point ahead of Dallas in the standings since the Stars will hold the first tiebreaker of more regulation and overtime wins no matter what happens over the course of the final two games.

Dallas hosts the St. Louis Blues on Friday. If the Stars win, it would give them the last spot in the West, eliminating Phoenix.

"It's not where we want to be," Phoenix defenseman Michael Stone said. "That's all there is to it really. We didn't do enough to continue to be able to control our own fate."

Smith scored the game's first goal at 10:26 of the second period. After taking a pass from defenseman Ryan Ellis above the left circle, Smith skated down to the left faceoff dot, where he used two Coyotes standing in front of goaltender Thomas Greiss as screens and scored his 21st goal of the season with a wrist shot high to the far side.