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The Nashville Predators take their road trip to the desert tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes, who have earned one more point than the Preds, albeit in one more game. Both squads, though, are fairly hot - Nashville is 7-3-0 in their last ten; the Coyotes 6-2-2.
It might be beating a dead horse, but Nashville needs the two points tonight in the worst way - Phoenix is a direct competitor for that 4/5 playoff spot, with the "winner" getting home ice. Sure, its a ways to April, but the more points now, the easier it'll be later.
After the jump, more on tonight's matchup.
To say that Anders Lindback had a rough go of things on Sunday would be putting it rather lightly. Time for Trotzy to return to the man who's 2nd in the NHL in goals against average and third in save percentage.
#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators
Nov 03, 1982
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||29||1687||14||11||60||2.13||827||767||.927||3|
Without Matthew Lombardi, Cal O`Reilly, Steve Sullivan, Jordin Tootoo, Francis Bouillon, and perhaps Marek Svatos, you can expect the Preds' lines to look somewhat like this.
Ilya Bryzgalov was recently named the NHL's "3rd Star of the Week".
#30 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes
Jun 22, 1980
|2010 - Ilya Bryzgalov||33||1942||17||8||83||2.56||1018||935||.918||2|
Against the Sharks yesterday, the Coyotes were without Michal Roszival, Ed Jovanovski, and Vernon Fiddler.
- If you take a quick glance at Nashville's roster this evening, you'll see that there are six players on the team that we did not expect to be here at the beginning of the year: Alexander Sulzer, Chris Mueller, Nick Spaling, Matt Halischuk, Marek Svatos, and Anders Lindback. Of those, three have spent time in Milwaukee this year, and one in the KHL. The fact that the Predators are even in the playoff hunt, let alone the home-ice hunt, is pretty amazing, and a testament to the organization's ability to prepare prospects and operate in a system that allows even the most meager NHL talents to succeed.
- The Preds have, statistically speaking, one of the best team defenses and goaltenders in the NHL. Failing to protect a lead, no matter how large or small, is inexcusable. What happened Sunday in Chicago cannot happen again.
- We've said it before, but it bears mentioning again - with a completely healthy Ryan Suter, Shea Weber might be playing the best hockey of his career. His 9 game point streak is the longest in franchise history by a defenseman, and 4th longest in Predators' history. Since New Year's Eve, Nashville's captain has 13 points, tied for most in the entire league with Vancouver's Daniel Sedin.
- The SB Nation story editor ate my entire preview at 10:00 last night, so, uh, this is your final bullet. Enjoy the game.