Phoenix Coyotes @ Nashville Predators Preview: Dog Days

When Nick Spaling scores on a slick forehand/backhand move, these truly are the best of times.
7:00 PM CST | 102.9 FM | Free Center Ice Preview (check local listings)

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: 

Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

207

Nov 03, 1982

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
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:

Forwards
Kostitsyn - Fisher - Erat
Sullivan (A) - Legwand - Hornqvist
Svatos - Wilson - Dumont
Ward - Smithson - Spaling
Defense
 Suter (A) - Weber (C)
Klein - Sulzer
Franson - O'Brien

Ilya Bryzgalov

#30 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-3

210

Jun 22, 1980

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Ilya Bryzgalov 47 2776 25 14 119 2.57 1446 1327 .918 5
Forwards
Korpikoski - Belanger - Doan (C)
Whitney - Hanzal - Vrbata
Stempniak - Fiddler (A) - Upshall
Boedker - Ebbett - Bissonnette
Defense
 Yandle (A) - Morris
Ekman-Larsson - Rozsival
Lepisto - Aucoin
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