Nashville Predators look to reverse fortune against Coyotes

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Some teams just have your number no matter how good you are playing. The Nashville Predators look to show Arizona who they really are.

One team has the most points in the Central Division and Western Conference. The other is struggling just to stay out of their division’s basement. It would be logical to think the team who is leading their division could easily defeat the other. But, in the case of the Nashville Predators versus the Arizona Coyotes, you would be wrong.

Arizona ended a four-game losing streak by defeating the Minnesota Wild, who sit third in the Central a mere five points behind Nashville. Their last win before the losing streak? Oh, that came back in Arizona when the Predators visited. A short-handed goal in the first period set the tone for the game for the Coyotes, and the won 2-1.

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Last season, the Predators and Coyotes played three times. Each game ended with a final score of 3-2. The Predators won two games, but one of those was in a shootout. The game Arizona won went into overtime. In 2016-17, Arizona defeated the Predators twice, with final scores of 4-1 and 3-2 in another shootout. Both those victories were in Arizona. Nashville won the only tilt at Bridgestone, 3-1.

The common theme is easy to see. Home teams win close games. All signs point to this trend continuing. However, the Predators would love to see a larger offensive outpouring. With Coyotes goalies Antii Raanta and Darcy Kuemper out with injuries, the Predators forwards should be salivating.  Adin Hill gets the call tonight. He played in two games this season, saving all shots faced.

All. Six. Shots. Key to the game: fire at will.

Lineup

The Predators are attempting to stabilize their line-up by moving pieces around. When you are missing three star-level players, finding comfort in lines is a challenge. Kevin Fiala tallied a goal on Tuesday night against the Avalanche while skating with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg. He will get another chance tonight. Dan Hamhuis and Mattias Ekholm have shut down opponents while paired together. With P.K. Subban still missing time, the Hamhuis-Ekholm pairing will see crucial minutes.

Forwards

Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Kevin Fiala

Ryan Hartman – Calle Jarnkrok – Craig Smith

Colton Sissons – Nick Bonino – Austin Watson

Miikka Salomaki – Frederick Gaudreau – Rocco Grimaldi

Defense

Roman Josi – Ryan Ellis

Dan Hamhuis – Mattias Ekholm

Matt Irwin – Yannick Weber

Goaltenders

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Next. Three players worth targeting. dark

Tonight’s game from Bridgestone will air on Fox Sports Tennessee with puck drop just after 7:00 P.M. Central. You can also watch on the Fox Sports Go app.