The Nashville Predators missed an opportunity to set a franchise record for road wins and lost one of their top players to injury when they were beaten 5-2 by the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday in a possible preview of a first-round Western Conference playoff matchup at Jobing.com Arena.
The Predators were without leading goal scorer Patric Hornqvist for the final 30 minutes. He sustained an “upper body” injury while battling in front of the Phoenix net and did not return. He played just 10 shifts and logged only 7:29 of ice time.
His status for the final regular-season game and the playoffs was not immediately known.
Nashville finished the season 23-15-3 in road games. That equaled the franchise record set in 2006-07.
Its final home game is against the St. Louis Blues, 7 p.m. Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.
With its victory, Phoenix guaranteed itself fourth place in the Western Conference standings and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Predators remained in fifth.
Steve Sullivan tied it 2-2 when he scored a power play goal at 5:53 of the third period. Sullivan gathered in a rebound off the boards behind the net and scored his 17th of the season. That snapped a streak of 29 consecutive Nashville power plays without a goal.
The Coyotes scored the final three goals, the last of them into an empty net with 19 seconds remaining.
The Predators led 1-0 just 12 seconds into the contest after Shea Weber scored with a slap shot. It was the second-fastest goal ever scored by the Predators from the start of game. David Legwand did it in 11 seconds against St. Louis on April 5, 2007.
The secondary assist on that goal went to Jason Arnott, who returned to the lineup after having missed the previous eight games with an upper body injury.