Scottie Upshall, the Nashville Predators’ first-round draft pick in 2002, scored three third-period goals Thursday and lifted the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-2 victory over the Predators in Glendale, Arizona.
The teams entered the contest tied at 61 points apiece. That was the most in the Western Conference among non-division leaders, and with the defeat Nashville, which was without J.P. Dumont (illness) fell to fifth place, two points behind Phoenix.
The teams will play three more times this season. The next matchup will be Feb. 2 at the Sommet Center.
The Predators led 2-1 at the start of the third after Patric Hornqvist and Martin Erat – their top two goal scorers – scored 40 seconds apart in the second. Nashville had won 16 of 17 on the season when it took a lead into the third period.
Hornqvist became the 17 different player in franchise history (the seventh different Predators’ draft pick) to score 20 goals in a season for Nashville when his pass from behind the net went in off the back of Coyotes’ goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Erat followed when he converted a turnover for an unassisted goal. It was his 16th of the season.
Upshall tied it 4:02 into the period. He scored the go-ahead goal with 6:38 remaining when he banged home the rebound of his own shot and then added insurance when he converted a breakaway 1:05 later.
It was the first hat trick of his career and gave him a career-high 17 goals this season.
He had 11 goals in 77 contests for the Predators in parts of four seasons before he was traded to Philadelphia on Feb. 15, 2007 as part of the deal that brought Peter Forsberg to Nashville for the remainder of that season.
Phoenix acquired him last year in a midseason trade with Philadelphia.
Nashville is back in action Friday at Colorado (8 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee).