Nashville Predators at Arizona Coyotes: An Easy Game to Stub Your Toe On

The Nashville Predators (40-25-4) head back to the desert to take on the Arizona Coyotes (30-37-5) for the final head-to-head meeting of 2023-24.

Feb 10, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Matt Dumba (24) has a shot
Feb 10, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Matt Dumba (24) has a shot / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Everyone around the NHL is wondering when are the Nashville Predators finally going to slip up and see their 18-game point streak finally come to an end. Nearly everyone thought that time had come on Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Trailing by three goals entering the third period, the Predators methodically made their comeback run. They never panicked, they stuck to their style of play and found some clutch time goals from Gus Nyquist, Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi.

Up next is the final meeting of 2023-24 between the non-playoff bound Arizona Coyotes and the virtual lock for the playoffs, the Nashville Predators. Almost all of the playoff probabilities, including Hockey Reference and MoneyPuck give the Predators a 99.9 percent chance to qualify for the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Preds on the Cusp of a Playoff Berth, But More Work to Do

Yes, the Predators still haven't clinched and just need 11 out of a possible 20 points in their last 10 games to fully guarantee a playoff spot, per PlayoffMagic.com.

The Coyotes may be eliminated from playoff contention, but they're still a team that has young talent and a starting goalie in Connor Ingram who we know is capable of stealing a game from the Predators.

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With the Coyotes kind of being in no man's land in terms of the standings, you should fully expect them to come in loose and free and take chances offensively. That should allow the Predators to also counterattack, so unless both goalies completely stand on their heads tonight, we could be in for a somewhat high scoring affair.

Clayton Keller leads the Coyotes in scoring with 63 points in 68 games and leads the charge. He just reached the 30-goal mark for back-to-back seasons and can also do a lot of damage on the Yotes power play.

The problem for the Coyotes is they just don't excel in any category, which suggests exactly why they are where they are in the standings. They also have very little support in their depth scoring behind Keller. They have some decent scorers in Nick Schmaltz, Lawson Crouse and others, but nothing that screams top tier or elite.

The Yotes Haven't Been an Easy Opponent for Preds to Deal With

The Coyotes have given the Predators fits this season, however. The seasons series favors the Coyotes 2-1-0 with the Predators needing a 5-4 overtime win on February 10, a week before the 18-game point streak began. So this will be an interesting test for the transformation Predators who have quickly went from non-factors to a trendy pick to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Ryan McDonagh scored the overtime winner on February 10, with six players on the Predators tallying two-point games. The starting lineup will look a lot different this time around with Yakov Trenin, Cody Glass and Philip Tomasino all playing in the last meeting, and of course Jason Zucker was on the other side for the Coyotes.

Zucker notched three assists in the February 10th meeting.

This could be a prime opportunity to get Juuse Saros some extra rest and get Kevin Lankinen his 15th start of the season. Lankinen had 18 starts for the Predators in his first year with Nashville.

Some career milestones are very close for some Predators players in the final 10 games. Filip Forsberg needs four more points and three more goals to set new career highs in those categories. He has 12 points in his last five games.

Ryan O'Reilly needs four more goals to break his career high of 28 goals in a season set in 2018-19 with the St. Louis Blues, the year he won the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe. He also only needs two more power play goals to set a new career high.

Roman Josi is enjoying his second-best offensive season as a pro, only second to his historical 2021-22 campaign of 96 points. He has supercharged his way back into Norris Trophy consideration and it hit its peak on Tuesday with his electric overtime winner against the Golden Knights.

30-37-5 (65P). 121. Thursday, March 28. 151. . 10 PM ET. Bally Sports South, ESPN+. Preds. 40-25-4 (90P)

In the all-time series the Predators hold a slight edge of 43 wins, 34 regulation losses, six overtime losses and two ties. In those 85 all-time meetings, the Predators hold a scoring margin of 249 to 233.

dark. Next. Preds. The Rejuvenation of Gus Nyquist in 1st Year with Preds