GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 07: Steve Sullivan #26 of the Nashville Predators passes the puck under pressure from Lauri Korpikoski #29 of the Phoenix Coyotes during the second period of the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on April 7, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
We've had a couple of longer practices this week that focus on execution, getting back in the flow of things and playing hard. I think those are all things that led to the last two losses. Like coach says, we have to get back to playing Predators hockey. We don't have that many all-stars, we do have a couple, but like when we play the Red Wings, we have to outmuscle them and outplay them and outwork them in order to get the win.
I've been saying it all year, so I'm sure this is a broken record - but when Nashville wins hockey games, its not because they were more talented than their opposition - its because they beat them in the little areas of hockey, which translate to the scoreboard.
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||6||348||2||2||14||2.41||195||181||.928||1|
These forward lines come courtesy of Seth, who attended Tuesday's practice. Matthew Lombardi, Martin Erat, and Ryan Suter did not make the road trip. If Marcel Goc is not ready to go, then I imagine Wade Belak will dress and Colin Wilson move back to center.
Here's Five for Howling blogger and SB Nation Arizona contributor Jordan Ellel on some things the Coyotes need to do better:
Coach Tippett has stressed a need for consistency and that will require some players to step up and start producing. Wojtek Wolski, one of GM Don Maloney's deadline acquisitions from a year ago has been a healthy scratch over the past 2 games because he has been fairly invisible on the ice. Players like Wolski, Lee Stempniak, Scottie Upshall and Radim Vrbata need to put this team on their collective backs and start getting it done in the offensive end. Some improved play from the blue line certainly will help that cause, and there are signs that Keith Yandle is starting to pick up his play in a big way with a few goals over the past week.
A Vezina Trophy finalist last year, 'Bryz' is the Phoenix Coyotes' best player. The Coyotes rely on Bryzgalov more than the Predators do Rinne, and he's usually up to the task.
|2010 - Ilya Bryzgalov||9||528||3||2||23||2.61||296||273||.922||0|
Phoenix has struggled out of the gate to get production from their veterans such as Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, and Wojtek Wolski. Two of their best stalwarts? Former Predators Vernon Fiddler and Scottie Upshall.
Not only will they probably match up against each other, Shea Weber and Shane Doan are the captains of their respective teams. Weber will have to match the physicality and veteran ability of Doan, who has been on a slump and will no doubt be looking to reverse the trend.
Perhaps more pertinent than that, though, is the two players' leadership abilities. The Preds and Yotes are each trending down, and in some ways its up to the captains to help turn things around. Doan is, by all accounts, one of the best leaders in the league, and while Weber's captaincy is still new, early returns are promising. Look for Nashville and Phoenix to follow the examples of their leading men tonight, whatever those may be.
Its not very often that the Nashville Predators come out flat two games in a row, but thats what happened last Thursday against St. Louis and Saturday against the Red Wings. Its even less often that it happens three consecutive times. Since Saturday, practices have been intensified, and Nashville probably returns Marcel Goc to the lineup. I think the Preds will get the West Coast trip off to a good start with a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.