Game Preview: Nashville Predators vs Arizona Coyotes 11/21/22

A chance to get back in the W column.

The Nashville Predators play the last game of their homestand tonight against the Arizona Coyotes, who are in the middle of an absurdly long and poorly-planned road trip. The Coyotes haven’t had the best start to the season—putting together a 6-9-1 record, worst in the Central Division to date—but the Predators have, well, also not had the best start to the season. It’s anyone’s game tonight.

The Nashville Predators

The Preds had managed to put together a winning streak that ended in overtime of a penalty-riddled game on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They’re still, maybe surprisingly, on a point streak.

Filip Forsberg remains the spark to the engine, leading the Preds in goals, assists, and points. Roman Josi and Matt Duchene have also been significant contributors. Milwaukee Admirals callups like Mark Jankowski and young talent like Jusso Parssinen have made a positive impact, while other players like Alexandre Carrier have had a surprisingly quiet season so far.

After a very rough start to the season, Juuse Saros has started to get back in the groove, stringing together a series of excellent games, good-enough games, and good-but-the-team-let-him-down games. Kevin Lankinen has also been pretty good, and exceeded my expectations for sure.

Penalties and systems remain an issue for the Predators.

The Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes have really struggled offensively this season. Defensively they’ve been pretty okay, but they’ve had a very hard time generating and scoring on high-quality chances at even strength. Their power play and penalty kill are both above-average, with the power play in particular not to be trifled with, but they do tend to take more penalties than they draw.

Clayton Keller leads the team in points with 18, goals with 7, and assists with 11—a statline identical to Forsberg’s. The young winger Matias Maccelli is second in assists with 9, while Nick Ritchie and Lawson Crouse have 6 goals each. Maccelli, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Travis Boyd are tied behind Keller in points with 10. It’s not an exaggeration to call Keller the Coyotes’ primary offensive contributor, and his workload reflects that.

In goal, the Coyotes have had better seasons. Karol Vejmelka is their starter this year, with a .909 sv% on the season. He’s been good enough for most of the Coyotes’ wins, but, given how they’ve struggled to score, he hasn’t been able to steal many games for them. Former Pred Connor Ingram has been their backup and is having a rough season, with a .870 sv%. Weirdly, his one distinctly good game so far (a .923 game against NYR) isn’t the sole win the Coyotes have managed for him.

How to Watch

The game airs at 7 PM Central/8 PM Eastern on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.