Clayton Keller scores twice to help Arizona Coyotes beat Nashville Predators

Jan 20, 2024, 3:59 PM | Updated: 6:04 pm

Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators d...

Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Clayton Keller scored two goals and Connor Ingram made 30 saves in the Arizona Coyotes’ 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Michael Carcone also scored and Ingram posted his 16th victory while making his sixth straight start as the Coyotes broke a two-game losing streak. Arizona pulled within four points of Nashville in the Western Conference standings.

“That’s a team ahead of us, so it was a four-point game for us,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “We want to play meaningful games. That was a real playoff game for us. There are four games before the (All-Star) break. We need to finish strong.”

Roman Josi and Tommy Novak scored and Juuse Saros made 21 saves for the Predators, who had won three of four and six of nine. Josi had his 166th career goal, passing Shea Weber for the most by a defenseman in franchise history.

“Shea has been such a huge inspiration for me as a player,” Josi said. “It’s very cool. He had a huge influence on my career.”

Keller scored in the first and second periods for a 2-0 lead, giving him 152 career goals. He is tied with Jeremy Roenick and Laurie Boschman for ninth-most in franchise history.

“Not until number one,” Keller said when asked if he paid attention to the numbers. “Right now, the most important thing is getting this team to the playoffs and playing meaningful games and fighting hard until the end.”

Keller put a wrist shot past Saros from the left circle at 9:52 of the first period. Sean Durzi won the puck on the right side boards and while falling centered it in the slot to Dylan Guenther, whose touch pass found Keller skating in alone.

Keller added his second for a 2-0 lead at 1:20 into the second period when he took a cross-ice pass from Matias Maccelli and found an open side from the bottom of the left circle.

“It’s nice to beat a team that is fighting for the playoffs, and so are we,” said Keller, whose team had lost six of eight.

Keller had a season-high 23:43 of ice time, in part because the Coyotes played their second game without forward Nick Schmaltz. Schmaltz suffered a lower-body injury in a 3-2 loss at Calgary on Tuesday.

“When you want to play the right way, it demands a lot of energy,” Tourigny said. “Doing that every second night won’t work, whoever it is in the league.”

Carcone capped a minute of sustained pressure to give the Coyotes a 3-1 lead midway through the second period. He punched the puck in from just outside the crease after a cross-ice pass from Jack McBain. Carcone scored for the first time in 16 games after scoring seven goals in the previous seven.

“An emotional roller coaster,” said Carcone, who has 15 goals. “It’s easy to point fingers at other people. Sometimes you just have to look in the mirror.”

Novak scored with 1:18 remaining after the Predators pulled Saros with 3:22 left.

“We had a hard time getting back on track after they made it 3-1,” Predators coach Andrew Brunette said. “We needed a line to step up and give us a shift and play in their end a little bit, and we didn’t get that tonight.”

The Coyotes host Pittsburgh on Monday.

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