When Nick Spaling scores on a slick forehand/backhand move, these truly are the best of times.
With each game taking on more meaning, the Nashville Predators come to a significant matchup tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes lead the Pacific Division, but more importantly, are just one point ahead of Nashville. Of course, the Predators can't pass the Coyotes even with a win because the division leader earn the top 3 seeds, but in the event that Phoenix tapers off, the Predators having more points could prove crucial.
The Coyotes have been playing extremely well of late, winners of six in a row. Thankfully, Nashville hasn't been too shabby, either - they've earned 7 of 8 points, and Mike Fisher seems to be making himself right at home. Phoenix isn't superlative at any one thing, but seem to take pride in being just good at everything.
While at first glance that probably sounds like the Predators, that isn't entirely true - Nashville is now tied with the Canucks for the league lead in goals against at a minuscule 2.29, while the penalty kill is all alone in 2nd, operating at 86.3 percent. Despite these statistical advantages, the key for the Preds is pretty simple - score first. Nashville is 21-3-6 when putting the first goal on the board.
Lineups after the jump.
Tonight's probable lineups:
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||41||2403||21||14||83||2.07||1202||1119||.931||4|
Due to the absence of Marcel Goc, these aren't likely to be very accurate until at least after the morning skate:
|2010 - Ilya Bryzgalov||47||2776||25||14||119||2.57||1446||1327||.918||5|