PREDATORS 2, COYOTES 0: Pekka Rinne turned aside all 32 shots he faced and David Legwand and Mike Fisher scored 66 seconds apart in the first period as host Nashville climbed back into its Western Conference semifinal series by winning Game 3.
After yielding nine goals en route to losing the first two contests, Rinne was not to be denied on Wednesday. The Vezina Trophy finalist preserved his first career postseason shutout by stopping Radim Vrbata on consecutive shots during a 5-on-3 power play late in the third period.
The Predators, who trail 2-1 in the series, will look to knot it up on Friday when they host Game 4.
Although Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were suspended for violating team rules, Nashville certainly didn't seem to lack any firepower during the first period.
Legwand opened the scoring just 8:10 into the contest. Rookie Gabriel Bourque intercepted goaltender Mike Smith's pass behind the net and alertly wristed a feed in the slot for Legwand, who wired a shot into the gaping net.
Fisher had the Music City faithful in a frenzy when he tallied shortly thereafter. After Nashville forced a turnover in the offensive end, Fisher attempted to feed Sergei Kostitsyn but the puck caromed off Smith's stick and into the net.
Rinne kept the Coyotes off the scoreboard by denying veteran Ray Whitney on the doorstep with 7 1/2 minutes left in the third period.
Smith finished with 24 saves for the third-seeded Coyotes, who fell for the first time in four road contests.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Nashville coach Barry Trotz did not offer a guarantee that Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn would return to the lineup for Game 4. "Tonight, if we get it done, then I would expect we would go back to the same group," Trotz said prior to the game ... Fisher's goal was his first in the postseason since Game 3 against Anaheim in last season's conference quarterfinals ... Nashville's Matt Halischuk exited the contest midway through the second period after injuring his back while being taken into the end boards. He returned later in the session ... Charlie Daniels performed during the first intermission.