Coyotes blog: Five for Howling
Questions to be answered: (1) Who will carry the offensive load? David Legwand has been picking up extra ice time, but it may be the defensive leaders like Shea Weber and Ryan Suter who step up in Arnott's absence. (2) With Pekka Rinne expected to return to the Nashville net, will he resume his stellar play from February? (3) Does the coaching staff seriously plan on going with a center lineup of Legwand, Vern Fiddler, Jerred Smithson, and Scott Nichol? If so, I guess the plan is to try and win 1-0.
Predators coming in: After a hot streak, the Preds have dropped three straight, and the offensive surge of a couple weeks ago seems like a distant memory. The good news is that the team is still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.
Coyotes coming in: While having made a strong push for a long-awaited playoff spot this season, Phoenix fell out of the hunt losing 6 straight coming out of the All-Star break, and they've gone 1-6-1 over their last 8 games.
Predators to watch: Shea Weber seems to have recovered from nagging injuries, and is asserting himself offensively again, with 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 9 games.
Coyotes to watch: Phoenix captain Shane Doan is a credit to the team and would be valued on any roster. A model of consistency, even as the team has faltered he can still be counted on to bring a solid effort. He's got two goals and an assist in his last 3 games.
Here's a look at the two teams in the main statistical categories, along with overall NHL rank:
Yikes, that's just a bad, bad hockey team right there.
And finally, a look at who draws the penalties, and who takes them for each team (data as of March 9):
|Nashville||Penalties Drawn||Phoenix||Penalties Drawn|
|Player||Draws||Fouls||Pen +/-||Player||Draws||Fouls||Pen +/-|
|Jordin Tootoo||45||40||+5||Martin Hanzel||32||15||+17|
|Martin Erat||22||24||-2||Ed Jovanovski||23||31||-8|
|Ryan Jones||22||9||+13||Todd Fedoruk||21||23||-2|
|Dan Hamhuis||21||23||-2||Shane Doan||18||17||+1|
|Joel Ward||20||10||+10||Kyle Turris||17||7||+10|
|Vern Fiddler||20||7||+13||Mikkel Boedker||17||8||+9|
|Penalties Taken||Penalties Taken|
|Jordin Tootoo||45||40||+5||Ed Jovanovski||23||31||-8|
|Ryan Suter||16||33||-17||Todd Fedoruk||21||23||-2|
|Shea Weber||14||32||-18||Shane Doan||18||17||+1|
|Martin Erat||22||24||-2||Martin Hanzel||32||15||+17|
|Greg de Vries||11||24||-13||Matt Lombardi||16||14||2|
|Dan Hamhuis||21||23||-2||Keith Yandle||15||14||1|