NASHVILLE – When it comes to shootouts, eight was finally enough for the Phoenix Coyotes.
David Legwand scored the shootout winner in the Nashville Predators’ 4-3 victory over Phoenix on Thursday night. The Coyotes entered the game with an NHL-high 12 shootout victories, including wins in their last eight games that advanced that far.
Steve Sullivan, Patric Hornqvist and Dan Hamhuis scored for Nashville in regulation, and Lee Stempniak, Wojtek Wolski and Keith Yandle countered for Phoenix.
Nashville has won seven of its last eight, while Phoenix has lost two straight after winning nine in a row.
With the victory, the Predators jumped up two spots to fifth in the tight Western Conference standings.
After each team scored once and missed once in the shootout, Phoenix’s third shooter, Radim Vrbata, had Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne beaten, but his backhander rang off of the crossbar and bounced away.
Legwand won the game with a wrist shot between Ilya Bryzgalov’s pads.
“It’s always tense going into overtime, and any way that I can help out is great,” Legwand said. “I beat him earlier in the year and that kind of went through my head, too, so going down, I saw him make the move first.”
Nashville coach Barry Trotz was confident Legwand would score.
“If you look at a lot of our shootouts, Leggy has a lot of times been the clutch guy, the guy that has kept things alive when we were down,” Trotz said. “I felt that he was going to be clutch again, and he was.”
Phoenix entered the third trailing by two, but goals by Wolski and Yandle 2½ minutes apart late in the period drew them even.
“In the last 20 minutes, we were just looking to throw everything out there and see what happened,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “We hadn’t played very well until that point. We were able to sneak a point out of it, so we’ll take that.”
Yandle also had two assists in the game.
“We sort of regrouped before the third period,” Stempniak said. “You need to give yourselves a chance late in the game. We got a big goal from Wolski, and we were able to tie it up.”
Rinne earned his 29th victory of the season. In shootouts this season, Rinne has a 5-2 record.
“Obviously, we still have to bite down and have to keep going,” Rinne said. “If we start looking too far ahead, it is going to cost us.”
NOTES: Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. … Rinne has started Nashville’s last eight games. … Stempniak has 10 goals and two assists in 11 games with Phoenix following a trade with Toronto.