Game Preview: Nashville Predators vs Arizona Coyotes 2/13/23

The Preds once again have a chance to turn the month around.

The Nashville Predators take on the Arizona Coyotes tonight.

While Filip Forsberg was listed as day-to-day after being injured in Saturday morning’s game, Philip Tomasino was recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals this morning; it’s safe to assume he will be replacing Forsberg at least for tonight.

The Arizona Coyotes, meanwhile, are having a rough season. At least one player (Jakob Chychrun) sat out their most recent game for “trade-related reasons”, and it’s safe to assume they’ll be selling at or before the trade deadline. That doesn’t mean the players still on the team can’t cause the Preds some problems, though.

Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz have put together strong seasons on a very weak team; Schmaltz, who missed sixteen games, is still second on the Coyotes in points with 34, and is one of only three players to come even close to breaking even in expected goal share. Keller is the scoring leader in all three categories with 21G/27A/48P. Lawson Crouse’s 17 goals put him second on the team in that category.

Chychrun has also been an important offensive contributor, and at 24 years old he could still be a part of a Coyotes rebuild, which makes the potential decision to trade him an interesting one. Even more surprisingly, he’s been one of the better defensive players on a bad defensive team, as part of an overall very strong impact on the Coyotes’ scoring chances at both ends of the ice.

The Coyotes have gotten good goaltending, to counter their bad offense, bad defense, bad shooting luck, and truly hideous special teams play. While Karel Vejmelka’s .906 sv% doesn’t look that great, he’s been doing a lot with very little. Connor Ingram has had a worse season, with his .899 sv% more reflective of his struggles.

Like so many games are, this one is winnable, but my own priorities are seeing Tomasino play well and fit into the team’s style. For everyone’s sakes, I hope he does.

The game will air at 7PM Central/8PM Eastern on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game. The Preds will be honoring PK Subban, who announced his NHL retirement this fall, tonight.