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Nashville Predators @ Arizona Coyotes Preview: Back On Track

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The Predators wrap up their road trip as they visit the Coyotes tonight.

Nashville Predators v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators seem to be getting things back on track as they are coming off of a huge 5-1 win over Colorado on Tuesday night. The Arizona Coyotes, themselves, are also coming off of a big win with a 3-2 victory over the defending Western Conference champs.

If Tuesday night was any indication, the Preds look to get back to back wins tonight and continue to build their momentum as the season progresses.

The Arizona Coyotes

Not much has gone right for the Coyotes at the start of the season. The Preds are having a horrible start, but Arizona’s is worse. They are currently ranked at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with just 6 points on this young season. Even with them being at the bottom of the standings, the Coyotes always seem to play tough against Nashville, and I wouldn’t expect anything less tonight.

The Coyotes are led by the young, stud defenseman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He is currently second on the team in points, and leads them in goals scored with five on the year so far. They also have some young talented forwards in the likes of Max Domi. Domi had a pretty decent season last year, and has continued that this year with 6 points on the year.

The problem with the Coyotes isn’t necessarily scoring goals, but more so preventing goals from being scored on them. Their goaltending has been atrocious so far. Louis Domingue has started in six games and has GAA of 3.95 and SV% of .887. Those numbers aren’t going to win you many games in this league. Mike Smith and Justin Peters haven’t faired any better as they have 3.27 GAA and 3.23 GAA respectively.

If the Coyotes can get a solid outing from their goaltending at the start of the game, and not let Nashville jump all over them early, they have a chance of keeping this game very close till the end.

The Nashville Predators

Finally! The Predators have broken through, at least for one game. Nashville is coming off their best played game this year. They were getting scoring from all the key players. It was only a matter of time before they eventually broke out.

I know it was just one game, but I am hoping that it is a sign of better things to come. Craig Smith was huge in that game in particular. He scored 2 goals and showed signs of being the productive player we all thought he could be. Along with Smith, Ryan Johansen also scored his first goal of the year in the game on Tuesday. That is big for him to get things rolling on the offensive side of things.

The biggest surprise for me though this season has been Pekka Rinne. His numbers aren’t great (2.89 GAA and .914 SV%) but he has been making quality saves at quality times. For the most part, he has kept the Preds in the games they have played. The good thing about this year is that they Predators don’t need him to be great, they just need him to do exactly what he has been doing. Keeping them in games. Once the offense and defense start to click together and figure things out, it could spell great things for this team.

Reasons To Watch

  • I know I said it in my last preview as well, but I feel Filip Forsberg’s first goal tonight. He leads the team in points and assists, and it’s only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net. I think it comes tonight.
  • It will be interesting to see if Craig Smith can continue what he started on Tuesday night. If he can get hot scoring goals, that will only help Nashville in the long run.
  • With goaltending being not so great in this one, tonight’s game could be a high scoring affair. Yes I know I just praised Rinne earlier, but he still has flaws and could give up five goals in a game at any moment.

Drink Of Choice For Game Time

I am going to stick with coffee for tonight. It’s a late one and staying up will prove to be difficult I feel.

Sights And Sounds

The game can be views on FS-TN locally and heard on 102.5 The Game. You can also stream the game on the Fox Sports Go app. Puck drops at 9:00 pm CST.