Coyotes-Predators Preview: 4th game 5/4/12
Sometimes apparent easy decisions are not so easy. Coach Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators has a difficult decision to make. Will he play top forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for game four of round two in the Stanley Cup playoffs tomorrow, May 4, 2012 against the Phoenix Coyotes. Radulov and Kostitsyn were suspended for game three for apparently missing curfew while in Phoenix last weekend. Radulov and Kostitsyn are the team’s first- and fourth-leading scorers, respectively, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Trotz said the strong efforts from Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo, both of whom returned to game action replacing the two suspended players had very strong efforts.
It is hard to ignore success and especially the type of success that the Predators had in game three where they beat the Coyotes 2 to 0 with the type of defensive minded game that the Predators are known for. Yet, game three was not the Coyotes best effort of the playoffs with turnovers, giveaways and an unfortunate play by Mike Smith coming out of his net to play the puck only to be burned by the Predators scoring their first goal. You can bet that Phoenix coach Dave Tippett will not allow these type of mistakes to happen again in game four. The Coyotes will play with more focus, greater intensity and a better team effort.
Given the fact that the Coyotes are up 2 to 1 and if the Predators lose game four and have to go back to Phoenix down 3 to 1, I would think that Trotz, would make the decision to play his top skill players which means inserting Radulov and Kostitsyn back into the line up for game four.
Remember, there is no tomorrow when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Win or go home. Barry Trotz as coach can’t play the game but he can decide who plays the game. By tomorrow afternoon, we will know his decision. By tomorrow night we will know if it was the right decision.