Both checkers had a positive presence, especially Tootoo, who played 10:11 and led the team with five hits.
"He was really good tonight," said coach Barry Trotz. "He was on the puck hard. He was detailed in the defensive zone, he was detailed all over the ice in terms of the reloads and finding people. That’s the way I expect him to play. When he’s hard on people and detailed, he can have an impact on a game. And I thought he did today.’’
On Wednesday morning, Trotz indicated he likely wouldn’t tinker with a winning lineup if his team took Game 3. While he didn’t come out and definitely say that again after the game, he was certainly leaning that way. Which means Radulov and Kostitsyn could sit out Game 4, as well.
"It’s a privilege to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs, to play for the Cup, and those guys took advantage of the privilege of playing," said Trotz. "That’s a sacred part of the playoffs. It will be very hard to change a lot from that group."
Coyotes felt generous
The Coyotes coughed up the puck on both Nashville goals. It’s not something they’re used to doing.
"They did come hard, and at home they come a little bit harder," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "At the same time, the goals they got, we gave them. We know that we’ve got to eliminate the mistakes."
Rinne shuts the door
Pekka Rinne earned a 32-save shutout and kept his best for a 5-on-3 Coyotes power play in which he made a series of superb saves.
"Pekka was tracking the puck really well," said Trotz. "Big save, I think he got the toe up on that one. He did a great job; he was smothering things, he was finding pucks that were bouncing around. I just thought he was sharp tonight."
After surprisingly combining for 15 goals in the opening two games, Wednesday night saw the kind of affair both teams were expected to deliver.
"Predator hockey is similar to the Coyotes', you base everything on a real good work ethic, you base everything on trying to play a real good team defense and piggyback the offense off of that," said Trotz. "That’s a little bit more the formula that both teams rely on."
Predators star defenseman Ryan Suter said his team was motivated to respond Wednesday night.
"We know that we didn’t play good in Game 2," said Suter. "For us, it was kind of embarrassing, our effort. So we knew we had to come out and play the way we’re capable of playing. You play good teams, you have to match their desperation. Tonight, we did that."