Martin Erat forced overtime with his first goal of the playoffs as the Nashville Predators came from behind to tie three times Friday in the opener of the Western Conference semifinal series with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Ray Whitney scored 14:04 into the extra period, though, as Nashville fell 4-3 in Glendale, Ariz.
The goal came after an icing set up a faceoff in the Nashville end. Mike Fisher lost that draw, and the 39-year-old Whitney got to the front of the net and beat goalie Pekka Rinne for his first overtime playoff goal in 17 years.
It was the sixth time in seven games this postseason the Coyotes played beyond regulation. They won three of five in their first-round series with Chicago before they finally advanced with a regulation victory in the sixth game.
It was the 17th overtime game of this postseason but the first for Nashville, which played its first game in eight days.
The Predators trailed 3-2 after two periods but dominated the third and finally tied it on Erat’s goal with 4:42 to play in regulation. Erat poked home a rebound chance off a Ryan Suter.
Nashville outshot Phoenix 16-1 in the third after each team managed 17 through the first 40 minutes. Roman Josi looked to have tied it with 6:24 to play. Officials reviewed video of the play, which ended with the puck under goalie Mike Smith’s skate, but ruled that the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the goal line.
The shots were 9-5 in Nashville’s favor in the overtime and the final total was 43-22.
Defenseman Francis Bouillon and right wing Patric Hornqvist each had two assists on the Predators’ first three goals. Bouillon was paired with Hal Gill, who played for the first time this postseason after having missed the entire first round with an injury.
Brandon Yip took advantage of a fortunate bounce off the boards in the Phoenix end and tied it 1-1 at 14:09 of the opening period. Andre Kostitsyn made it 2-2 with 8:41 to play in the second period.