Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Arizona Coyotes 2/26/23

The Preds head south.

After making the decision this weekend to start selling, the Nashville Predators still have to play games. Tonight's is against the Arizona Coyotes, who’ve had a pretty good month but are coming off a 3-6 loss to Calgary on Wednesday. Whether they’ll be rusty or rested, and how the Preds will respond to Poile’s admission that this season isn’t going to be it, we’ll find out.

The Coyotes have struggled across the board, despite heroic efforts from Connor Ingram and Karel Vejmelka in goal. Their even-strength play is bad at both ends of the ice; their power play is awful; their penalty kill is frankly nightmarish (though they have still managed to score three shorthanded goals). They have some talented forwards as well, but the team has had some issues.

Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, and Lawson Crouse are the guys getting things done on offense, with a lot of help from Shayne Gostisbehere on the blue line. Keller leads across the board with a scoreline of 24-31–55, while Crouse has put up 19 goals and Schmaltz has managed 37 points in 42 games.

22-year-old winger Matias Maccelli has put up 25 assists, second on the team despite only playing 40 games, and shouldn’t be overlooked. Maccelli has also been one of the Coyotes’ best defensive players and leads team regulars in expected goal share. With Jakob Chychrun, who’s also been a standout player for the Coyotes, still sitting pending a trade, they’re lucky to have young talent still on the roster.

This will be the Preds’ first game in Mullett Arena, the Coyotes’ temporary home. Reports from other teams who have played there is that despite the small capacity the environment is lively, loud, and hostile, with an enthusiastic, goalie-chanting crowd.

How to Watch

The game airs at 6PM Central/7PM Eastern on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.