First Posted: 1/29/2013
(AP) Chad Johnson earned his first NHL shutout in his Phoenix debut and the Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 4-0 on Monday night.
Johnson, called up from Portland of the AHL last week after Mike Smith was hurt, had 22 saves in a game dominated defensively by a Coyotes team that entered the night allowing an NHL-high 20 goals in five games.
Keith Yandle had a power-play goal and two assists and Nick Johnson a goal and one assist. Antoine Vermette and Laurie Korpikoski also scored in the Coyotes’ second win in six games.
The Predators were shut out for the second time in three games and have scored just 10 times in six games this season.
It was the first meeting of the season of teams that met in last season’s Western Conference semifinals, a series won by Phoenix 4-1.
Phoenix had given up an NHL-high 20 goals in its first five games, but the Coyotes have allowed just one total in their two victories.
Smith missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury, and coach Dave Tippett chose to go with the 26-year-old Johnson rather than usual backup Jason LaBarbera.
Johnson was making his seventh NHL appearance, fifth as a starter. In his previous appearances, all for the New York Rangers, he never played at home.
Three of Nashville’s first five games ended in shootout losses, but it fell behind early in this one and Phoenix steadily built on the lead.
Vermette, with assists from Nick Johnson and Yandle, put Phoenix up just three minutes into the game with a left-handed one-timer through a tiny window past goalie Pekka Rinne, who had 21 saves.
The Coyotes dominated the rest of the period, killing one penalty for too many men on the ice along the way. They killed the first 1:06 of Korpikoski’s holding penalty at the end of the period. Phoenix killed the remainder of the penalty to start the second period.
Nashville killed a hooking penalty on Craig Smith, and tried to turn up the pressure in the second period, to no avail. Then Korpikoski knocked in a loose puck from in front of the net for his 50th career goal and the Coyotes led 2-0 with 3:12 left in the period.
Phoenix put it away with two third-period goals.
The Coyotes made it 3-0 when Yandle passed to Nick Johnson, who knocked it past Renne with 9:26 remaining. Yandle’s power-play goal with 4:58 to go wrapped up the scoring.
Notes: The Coyotes were without C Martin Hanzal for the third time in four games with a lower-body injury. … Greg Jamison told The Arizona Republic he expects to meet the Friday deadline to complete purchase of the Coyotes from the NHL. The new lease agreement with the city of Glendale expires if no deal is reached by then. … Nashville’s seven-game road trip matches the longest in franchise history. … The Denmark national soccer team, which plays Mexico in Glendale on Wednesday night, attended the game.