It was the Mike Smith show in Game 4 and tonight was no different as he faced 33 shots and stopped all but one, as Phoenix now goes on to the Conference Final for the first time in Franchise History. Phoenix managed to get only 17 shots in the game but got two past Pekka Rinne in the second period. This would have been an entirely different game if Mike Smith had not been in net standing on his head. Nashville just kept pushing and pushing but could only manage to get one shot past Smith, as he had 162:36 straight minutes without letting in a goal. At one point Nashville had over 70 shot attempts directed at the net, and Phoenix blocked or helped misdirect most shots away from Mike Smith.
What Went Right, What Went Wrong
For Phoenix almost everything in this series went right. Mike Smith stole another series, standing on his head denying the Predators for most of the series. He looked more and more confident as the series went on. Phoenix got scoring from throughout their lineup, and got production from their stars like Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal, Radim Vrbata and others. They were strong defensively, keeping Nashville to the perimeter for much of the series and it was only when Nashville was able to get into the middle that they were able to score. Shea Weber was held scoreless in the series, good for Phoenix but bad for Nashville. Nashville looked shaky at the start of the series and never really fully recovered as they dropped all three games in Phoenix. This is the second straight season that Nashville has made it to the Conference Semi-Finals but failed to make it to the Conference Finals. Mike Smith almost scored an empty net goal in the final seconds of the game, missing by just inches. Going into the off season Nashville now has to face Ryan Suter becoming an Unrestricted Free Agent and Shea Weber becoming a Restricted Free Agent right away as well.
Phoenix now moves onto the Conference Finals against Division rival the L.A. Kings who recently swept the St. Louis Blues in the other Western Semi-final. Phoenix has already beaten one goalie nominated for the Vezina in the form of Pekka Rinne and now faces the spectacular Jonathan Quick. Phoenix has played 11 games in the playoffs so far whereas L.A. has played 9.
Doan played his 50th career playoff game. The team that scored first won every game in the series. Nashville went 0 for 4 on the power play. Phoenix played without D Rostislav Klesla, who was suspended a game by the league for his Game 4 hit on Nashville forward Matt Halischuk.
1st: Mike Smith
2nd: Derek Morris
3rd: Mikkel Boedker