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NHL playoffs: Phoenix snatches Game 1 win from Nashville

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"He’s a good goalie, you can’t deny that," Predators captain Shea Weber said. "He had a good series against Chicago and he was good yesterday."

The worry for the Coyotes is that they’re relying on Smith a little too much.

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Good as Smith has been, Phoenix can’t keep falling back into protection mode whenever they have a lead. Four times in the playoffs the Coyotes have allowed tying goals in the third period, in part because they’ve sat back and stopped attacking, spending far too much time in their own zone and giving up way too many good chances.

Smith has been good after giving up the late goals, leading Phoenix to four overtime victories, but the Coyotes know they’re playing with fire, particularly against an equally-opportunistic team like the Predators.

"It’s not the prettiest hockey, and people can say what they want about it, but we’ve just got to find a way to win," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We pride ourselves as a group in doing that. Obviously, we’re pretty thankful that Smith has been as good as he’s been. At the same time, we have to be better as a group, as a whole."

So do the Predators, who did just about everything right except the most important thing: win.

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