--Mike Smith has been spectacular all season and in the playoffs, but took it to another level in the final eight periods of this season -- allowing just one goal and frustrating the Predators at every turn.
Colin Wilson's goal with 5:59 left in regulation cut the Phoenix lead to 2-1 and it ended Smith's shutout streak, dating back to the midway point of the first period in Game 3, which had reached 162 minutes and 36 seconds. But the final six minutes were the big ones as he closed out the series.
"It has been a heck of a ride," Smith said. "I feel so fortunate to have an opportunity like this. They don't come around every year. You don't make the playoffs every season, and you certainly don't make the conference finals every year, so it has been a heck of a ride."
Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne tipped his goalie mask to Smith when it was over.
"We had a lot of shots but like in the other games in this series, we couldn't get anything past him," Rinne said. "He stayed strong until the end and their players give him a lot of help too. Their goalie was unreal; He was the difference in the series, I thought."
--The Coyotes beat the Predators at their own game -- using great goaltending, a defense willing to sacrifice its bodies and had four lines of energy to make Nashville chase the game for almost the entire series.
"We made it muddy down in front of our net, and the mud won out in the end," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We defended. We kept them outside. We packed it in around our net. We did a lot of bend and didn't break. They have some high skill on that team, and if you allow (good) chances, they are going to take advantage. We tried to make them as contested as possible. We had a lot of guys blocking a lot of shots."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"You get kind of beat up after not being able to find a way out of that first round, so to be out of the second is pretty special. We talked about it as a group. We're only halfway. We need to win four more and regroup again." -- Phoenix captain Shane Doan.
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