The Nashville Predators began a three-game, West Coast road trip with a win versus the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. Early on, Filip Forsberg excelled as he scored the first goal of the game at 2:23 of the 1st period. After two periods of back-and-forth play between the Preds and Avs, the Preds scored two empty net goals late in the 3rd period to win 3-0. Tonight, the Preds continue their trip as the travel to Arizona to take on the Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
The Arizona Coyotes (10-15-3) are currently on a 3-game losing streak with losses against the Boston Bruins, LA Kings, and Calgary Flames. In their last outing, the Coyotes lost to the Bruins 5-2. The struggle for Arizona was during the 2nd period when they gave up 3 goals and goalie, Devan Dubnyk, was pulled for Mike Smith.
The Coyotes are currently in 6th out of 7 teams in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. Currently, Arizona is being led in points by defenseman Keith Yandle with 19 points; he also leads the team in assists with 16. Mikkel Boedker leads the team in goals with 9. On the injury report, Brandon Gormley is currently out for the Coyotes with a lower-body injury. Gormley has only played in 6 games this season, and has been on IR since November 17th.
Keys to watch
Rematch from October 21st
On October 21st, the Preds and Coyotes faced off at Bridgestone Arena. This was a typical match-up between these two clubs. On that night, the Preds were victorious with a 4-3 shootout win. The final goal in the shootout was scored by Ryan Ellis. Look for the Coyotes to try and get off their losing streak and work hard early on to try and combat this dry spell. Traditionally, these two clubs have close games, so don’t expect a blowout on either side.
35 shutouts in a career. The career path that Pekka Rinne is on as of recent is outstanding. The 6’5″, Kempele, Finland native, has been very impressive for the first quarter of the season. In most statistical categories, Rinne is at the top, if not #1, in the NHL. The success of the Preds rides on the success of Pekka Rinne. If this current trend continues, look for big things out of this team.
…….. Powerplay. !@#$%^%!$%
Frustration. Angry. Irritated. Exasperated. These words, for me, describe the Preds powerplay. Ranked 29th in the League, the PP is atrocious. At 10.7 %, the Preds look inept, at times, when it comes to the man advantage. The only part of their game that is holding them back from being an elite, dominating team in the NHL is their powerplay. With 84 opportunities, the Preds only have 9 goals. Imagine if the Preds were middle of the league in PP %. There would be no stopping this team.
The Preds are looking to continue their winning ways as they take on Arizona. With an 8:00 CST start, make sure you catch the Preds in action tonight on FS-TN or listen live on 102.5 The Game.