Can the Nashville Predators get back to their winning ways against the team which ousted them from the playoffs in 2012? The puck drops shortly after 7:00 at Bridgestone Arena, with no local TV coverage tonight.
|Phoenix Coyotes||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||31.6||8th||28.7||18th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||32.9||25th||29.9||17th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.931||11th||.921||17th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.61||8th||3.30||20th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.83||24th||3.39||13th|
Despite their great record, the Coyotes don't look like a particularly dominant team. Their penalty killing has been pretty poor, for example, giving rise to hopes that the Preds can take advantage there.
It's all coming up roses for the Phoenix Coyotes these days, as stable ownership allows fans to actually focus on hockey rather than whether or not they would lose their team in the coming months. The action on the ice hasn't disappointed, either, as the team has gotten off to an impressive start that has them rubbing bumpers with the Kings and Sharks near the top of the Pacific Division standings. Make sure to head over to Five For Howling to bask in the glow of a fan base enjoying the good times.
The real surprise has come in the form of gargantuan center Martin Hanzal, who is scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace in this, his 7th NHL season. His career best? 35 points back in his rookie campaign of 2007-8.
|2013 - Martin Hanzal||20||7||12||19||+1||27||1||0||1||53||13.2|
The Coyotes do come into tonight's game on a bit of a slide, having lost 3 of their last 4, although two of those defeats still earned them the NHL Loser Point. In their previous meeting with the Preds back on Halloween, Phoenix took a 5-4 shootout decision.
The Preds will want to wash the taste of Saturday night's loss away as quickly as possible, but much will depend on the health of Patric Hornqvist, who left the Rangers game in the first period after taking a Mike Fisher slap shot to the ribs. The team didn't practice yesterday, so we should get an update coming out of the morning skate, as the Preds hit the ice at Bridgestone around 10:30 (keep an eye on Twitter for news). If Hornqvist can't go, and Filip Forsberg is still injured, that right side of the Predators' forward lines could look pretty thin.
|2013 - Patric Hornqvist||22||6||7||13||0||10||2||0||3||70||8.6|
In goal, it will be interesting to see if or when Carter Hutton gets another chance to start. Marek Mazanec has played increasingly well with each passing game, and you can't help but wonder if the Preds just want to ride that hot hand as long as they can, while hoping that Pekka Rinne's recovery proceeds as quickly as possible.
Remember that today the Predators are hosting a food drive at the arena on behalf of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (thanks to all of you for your donations to our Virtual Food Drive, which has been a tremendous success). You can bring food or monetary donations to the rink tonight, or you can continue to donate online through our effort, which has topped the $1,100 mark!