Ritchie scores in debut as Coyotes beat Predators 4-1
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Ivan Prosvetov had some time on his hands before the Tucson Roadrunners were leaving for Milwaukee, so he started working on his bike.
The phone rang and at first he thought it was a joke: Get to Tempe, you’re starting in goal for the Arizona Coyotes.
Prosvetov scrambled to get his things together, had a few tense moments in Phoenix traffic and nearly had a shutout for his first NHL win.
Prosvetov stopped 39 shots, Brett Ritchie scored in his Arizona debut and the Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Thursday night.
“The first one. I’ve been waiting for it, I’ve been dreaming for it,” Prosvetov said. “Obviously, I didn’t expect it to come in the next week because I just woke up and I was preparing to go to Milwaukee, but it’s exciting.”
The Coyotes recalled Prosvetov from Tucson of the AHL before the game to play in his seventh NHL game, first this season. The Russian rookie had been solid for the Roadrunners, going 16-13-4 with a 3.06 goals-against average in 35 games.
Prosvetov was superb against Nashville, turning away 39 shots before Cody Glass scored with two minutes left in the third period.
“Sometimes it’s a tough situation and sometimes the best situation because you don’t overthink everything,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said. “You don’t have time to be nervous.”
Ritchie scored in the first period of his first game since being traded from Calgary on Friday. Barrett Hayton and Jack McBain scored 49 seconds apart in the third period, and Nick Schmaltz added an empty-net goal to improve the Coyotes’ record at Mullett Arena to 16-11-3.
Juuse Saros had 39 saves, but the Predators went 0 for 6 on the power play.
“I have to do a better job and we all have to do a better job just getting in his (the goalie’s) eyes,” Glass said “That’s where we were getting all of those goals and creating some havoc.”
Ritchie was part of NHL history on Friday, when he was traded from Calgary in a deal that sent his brother to the Flames. Nick Ritchie scored in his Calgary debut on Monday, but Brett’s arrival in Arizona was held up by visa issues.
Brett Ritchie had an immediate impact on his new team, redirecting J.J. Moser’s shot from the blue line past Saros midway through the first period.
“That’s the hockey gods, I think,” Ritchie said. “They give you a good bounce early.”
Both goalies were sharp in the second period as the open-ice opportunities became fewer.
Prosvetov made consecutive difficult saves on a rush late in the period, springing back to his feet just in time to punch away a shot by Kiefer Sherwood after being clipped by Nashville’s Ryan McDonagh.
“You have to battle and practice after every shot, and only then you’re going to make hopefully one of those in a game, maybe in 10 games to make one,” Prosvetov said.
Glass spoiled Prosvetov’s shutout, but Schmaltz ended Nashville’s comeback hopes with his empty-netter.
“We were creating a lot of chances, but it was one of those days where you need to bear down and find a way to get it to the back of the net,” Glass said.
The Ritchie brothers have built-in places to live in their new cities. Any kind of house swap won’t come until their fiancees are ready.
“She’s in Calgary and Nick’s is still in town here, so we’ll probably swap when when they swap,” Ritchie said “I think it’s great.”
NOTES: The Coyotes assigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL. … Predators F Filip Forsberg missed his 12th straight game with an upper-body injury. … Arizona’s Liam O’Brien and Nashville’s Michael McCarron each received five-minute fighting penalties for a short dust-up late in the second period.
Predators: Plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Coyotes: Plays at Colorado on Saturday.