The Nashville Predators went into the game on Tuesday night looking to erase the damage of the previous five games with a victory against the Arizona Coyotes. Finding the offense would be a key element to developing a solid outing against a tough Arizona squad.
The first period was lots of back-and-forth action that developed the pace of the matchup. At 17:09, Seth Jones was called for interference against Tobias Rieder and the Coyotes would go on the power-play. It would only take eleven seconds for Oliver Ekman-Larsson to score his sixth goal of the year to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead after the first period.
The second period allowed for the Preds to respond to the Coyotes goal. Nashville would get their own power-play when Connor Murphy was called for hooking against Eric Nystrom. Calle Jarnkrok scored his fifth of the season at 12:32 to tie the game up at 1-1.
Kyle Chipchura would sneak a goal past Pekka Rinne at 17:09 of the second period to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead going into the third period of play.
The third period would find the Preds desperate to tie up the game or come out of Bridgestone Arena with a victory. Nashville would put together one of their best periods this season with four goals, two of which were scored by Filip Forsberg.
Nashville would find their offense and win against the Coyotes 5-2.
Tonight, the Preds will finish up their current home stand as they welcome in the Florida Panthers.
In their last outing, the Panthers defeated the St. Blues 3-1 on Tuesday.
Keys to Watch
Lost and Found: Offense
The third period of Tuesday’s performance should be the expectation of this Nashville squad. The Preds offense has been like the lost and found section of any local establishment. Sometimes you can find what you are missing and other times, it’s just not there. The Preds offense has been inconsistent and down-right dominate at other points. The Predators were able to get offense in the third from the players that have not contributed lately (Forsberg, Neal, Ribeiro). Neal should have scored two in the period. He had a wide-open net but hit the post. The Preds need to find their offense on a more consistent basis. That is the expectation.
Shots Against Per Game
Evaluating both squads, one glaring statistic pops out and that is the shots against per game. Nashville is one of the best teams in the NHL in not allowing lots of shots from the opposing offense. Currently, Nashville allows 26.9 shots per game which only two other teams (Washington, Carolina) are better in this category. On the flip side, Florida is one of the worst in the NHL allowing 31.3 shots against per game. The Preds will need to get quality shots on the Florida goal. Recently, Roberto Luongo has been stellar, winning three straight, with a goals-against average of 1.33 per game. In their last three, the defense of Florida has only allowed 30 shots one time. The Preds will need to get lots of quality shots on net!
Jagr: Still Got Game
At 43 years of age, Jaromir Jagr can still produce at a very high level. The Kladno, Czech Republic native leads the Panthers in points (18), goals (8), and shot percentage (19.50%). He is a very dangerous player and the Nashville defense will have to keep tabs on the 1990 1st round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Don’t let the age fool you. He is still a highly-skilled, multi-faceted player that can beat you on various levels.
The Nashville Predators will look to finish off the current home stand against an extremely talented Florida Panthers squad. With a mix of young and old talent, Nashville will need to be on their toes to come out with a victory. The game will be covered Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm!