I am going to keep this preview short and simple since there was a game yesterday. Ryan Johansen is everything as advertised and the Predators, once again, shot themselves in the foot with penalties last night.
That is going to have to change if they want to get a win tonight.
The Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes currently sit in second place in the division and have two straight games this week. The Pacific is wide open right now, and any team can jump up and grab the division lead.
Arizona has a good amount of star players on their team (and no, I am not talking about John Scott). Oliver Ekman-Larsson is one of the best young defenseman in the league and Max Domi is showing that he can hang with the big boys in his first full year in the NHL. Domi and OEL top the team in points along with Mikkel Boedker. Boedker is having himself a good year so far.
You also can't forget about the likes of Shane Doan and Antoine Vermette. Yes, these guys may not scare you the way they used to back a few years ago, but they still know how to produce and how to win hockey games. Both of these guys are experienced and are always there for their team.
The one struggle the Coyotes are having this year is that they can't keep the puck out of the net. Mike Smith (before being put on IR) and Anders Lindback are simply not getting the job done. They both have GAA over three and are letting in goals by the bunches. If I were running the Coyotes, I would put in Louis Domingue. He has taken full advantage of his starts by posting a 2.31 GAA and a .930 SV%.
Regardless who they go with, the Predators will still have their hands full with Arizona. They always play Nashville tough and I wouldn't expect anything less tonight.
The Nashville Predators
Not much to say here today. As I mentioned before, Ryan Johansen is everything, and more, as advertised. He posted a goal and an assist in his first game with Nashville. The team had a different swagger to them for most of the game. They were playing with high energy and high tempo. I liked what I saw for the most part.
What I didn't like is their undisciplined play cost them the game last night. It was a great first game for Joey, but the team couldn't hold it together late in the game to get him the win in his debut.
Pekka Rinne was also part of that reason. He had an average game at best. Rinne had been playing relatively well up to that point, and will have to get back to that play if the Preds want to continue to win. Since Rinne went last night, I expect Carter Hutton to make the start tonight. Hutton has played pretty well this season. He isn't going to win games for you, but he has been able to keep the Preds in games this season. Which is a big upgrade from last year's play from him.
Reasons To Watch
Once again, Ryan Johansen. He is the only reason you should be watching tonight. I mean who doesn't want to see more goals like this one?!
Johansen goal pic.twitter.com/GvFv40JJzo— Stephanie (@myregularface) January 9, 2016
Sights And Sounds
FS-TN for TV and 102.5 The Game for radio. Puck drops at 8:00 pm CST again tonight.