The Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes come into this game with a record of 10-28-8, having lost all four games since they last played the Predators. Derek Stepan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Clayton Keller and Brad Richardson had a hand most of the goals scored in their last three games, with now ex-Coyote Anthony Duclair scoring the only goal in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers.
Antti Raanta has finally settled into his role as the Coyotes starting goaltender, which is good news for the team. His goals allowed average is 2.68, which is nothing special, but he has a save percentage of .915 this season. That mark is decent for someone allowing on average nearly three goals per game, which makes me think that if everyone in front of him could let him face less shots per game, the team might win a handful more games.
The young talent on this team continues to show flashes of what they could be, but they are not quite at the point of consistently winning games just yet. But it’s good to see they might finally crawl out of the basement of the NHL.
The Nashville Predators
The Preds have a few pieces missing heading into tonight’s game. In fact, there was a good chance that the entire JoFA line might not play, with Johansen not participating in the morning skate along with Arvidsson and Forsberg being on the IR. That would mean everyone else would need to step up.
Thankfully, we’ve been given some good news:
This doesn’t change the fact that other guys will need to step up tonight and in the near future.
Despite having cooled off as of late, Kyle Turris’ line has still provided most of the offense. Turris, Fiala, and Smith are going to need to take on the first line role tonight for the Predators to have any chance at winning tonight. The bottom 6 guys will have to do their job as well (maybe we’ll see an Austin Watson hat trick tonight).
Defensively, this team is 100% healthy, but they have not settled in quite yet. In fact, Vegas put up 46 shots in the Preds 1-0 victory on Tuesday, which is not something that a team with arguably the best Top 4 D combo in the league should be allowing to happen. The defense also has not been as proficient offensively as many expected them to be, but they also have not needed to be as of now.
As for the guys in goal, now that the Juuse is loose this team has two very good options for every night. They will likely go with the older, more proven, still better option in Pekka Rinne tonight, and hopefully he can replicate the success of his apprentice and get a shutout of his own tonight.
Reasons to Watch
- With the Jets not playing today, the Preds can take back the division with a win or OT loss
- You wouldn’t want to miss out on a bottom 6 player’s best shot at a hat trick for a while, now would you?
- It’s a battle of the Black Keys goal songs (ours is better)
How to Watch
FS-TN for TV, 102.5 The Game for radio. 7:00 CT for the puck drop.