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Coyotes eliminated from playoff contention after loss to Predators

Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) and Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons watch the rebound after Smith blocked a shot during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 20, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won 3-1. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ryan Ellis scored twice, Pekka Rinne made 25 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Monday night.

Viktor Arvidsson also scored for the Predators, who have won four of five. Craig Smith added two assists.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson had the lone goal and Mike Smith stopped 28 shots for Arizona, which has lost three straight.

Rinne was lightly tested in the first period, making just five saves, but the action picked up after that as the Finn made 11 saves in the second and nine in the third. His best sequence came midway through the second, when he denied two attempts by Josh Jooris and one by Jamie McGinn in an 11-second span.

Arvidsson scored the game’s first goal five minutes into the second period.

Colin Wilson’s shot from the slot was stopped by Mike Smith, but Christian Dvorak’s clearing attempt ricocheted off Arvidsson’s stick and over Mike Smith.

The goal was Arvidsson’s 27th of the season. Arvidsson has goals in three consecutive games and at least one point in his last five.

Ellis doubled the Nashville lead at 16:44 of the second.

From the left point, Smith sent a pass to Ellis above the left faceoff circle where he beat Smith with a one-timer high to the glove side.

Ellis made it 3-0 at 6:35 of the third.

Craig Smith carried the puck into the Arizona zone and from near the right boards found Ellis at the right point, where he fired another one-timer by Mike Smith.

Ellis has 14 goals and 34 points this season, establishing a career best for the defenseman.

Ekman-Larsson’s power-play goal at 16:05 of the third ended Rinne’s shutout bid, but Nashville improved to 24-1-5 when leading after two periods.

NOTES: With the two assists, Smith now has 201 NHL points. … Nashville has defeated the Coyotes six consecutive times at home. … After spending all season to date in the AHL, Arizona D Zbynek Michalek appeared in his first NHL game of the season. … The Coyotes are 5-12-0 against Central Division teams this season.


Coyotes: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Predators: Host the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

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