Predators Lose To Coyotes In Home Opener - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Predators Lose To Coyotes In Home Opener

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Phoenix Coyotes left wing Paul Bissonnette (12) battles for the puck against Nashville Predators center Jerred Smithson, left, in the first period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo) Phoenix Coyotes left wing Paul Bissonnette (12) battles for the puck against Nashville Predators center Jerred Smithson, left, in the first period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  - David Schlemko, Ray Whitney and Lauri Korpikoski each scored in the first period, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat Nashville 5-2 Thursday night, ruining the Predators' big party for their home opener.

Shane Doan had an empty-netter and an assist, and Mikkel Boedker had a goal as the Coyotes capped their three-game road trip to open the season with their first victory.

Ryan Suter and Colin Wilson scored a goal apiece for Nashville.

But an emotional video montage in memory of Wade Belak, the former NHL enforcer found dead in Toronto in August, seemed to sap the Predators despite a sellout crowd eager to cheer a team coming off its first run to the Western Conference semifinals.

It was the first of 41 home games at Bridgestone Arena.

Fans camped out on the plaza outside the arena much of the afternoon to roll out the red carpet to welcome the Predators back to Smashville.

Predator players and coaches received big cheers as they showed up around 4 p.m. to walk the red carpet into Bridgestone Arena.

A block party was also held on the plaza with a live band, cheerleaders and games.

The Preds were 2-0 after back-to-back road wins at Columbus and St. Louis over the weekend. They are two key division wins early in the year.

The Preds were also a little short-handed against Phoenix. Fan favorite Mike Fisher was still out after shoulder surgery. The team also announced forwards Martin Erat and Patrick Hornquist would be out for the game.

Mayor Karl Dean and the Predators also honored country star Vince Gill on Thursday for his charity work and for his role as ambassador of the city and support of the team.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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