Darcy Kuemper made 40 saves for the Arizona Coyotes in a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Rogers Place on Sunday.
Christian Dvorak had a goal and an assist and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Clayton Keller and Michael Grabner each scored for the Coyotes, the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference.
Grabner scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 16:25 of the second period for a 4-1 lead.
Game 2 of the best-of-5 series is in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, on Tuesday (2:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN360, FS-TN, FS-A PLUS). The series winner advances to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Filip Forsberg scored two goals, Ryan Ellis scored, and Juuse Saros made 33 saves for the Predators. Pekka Rinne‘s streak of 89 consecutive postseason starts since April 16, 2010 ended, the fourth-longest by a goalie in NHL history.
There hasn’t been a best-of-5 series in the NHL since 1986. The League used them for the preliminary round of the playoffs from 1980-86, and the team that won Game 1 went on to win the series 87.5 percent of the time (49 of 56).
Ekman-Larsson gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead when his slap shot from the left point deflected off the stick of Kyle Turris and left shoulder of Matt Duchene before beating Saros over his left shoulder at 7:59 of the first period.
Dvorak made it 2-0 at 10:52 of the first on a wrist shot from the slot. Keller scored a power-play goal at 15:42 for a 3-0 lead.
Forsberg pulled the Predators within 3-1 on a power-play goal at 19:57 of the first.
Ellis scored on a wrist shot from the left point 30 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2. Nashville got to within 4-3 when Forsberg scored a power-play goal at 8:56.
Arizona was without forward Nick Schmaltz (unfit to play). As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.