Nashville Predators @ Phoenix Coyotes: Keeping It Going

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 06: Daymond Langkow #22 of the Phoenix Coyotes watches the game winning goal get past goalie Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on December 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

On Monday the Phoenix Coyotes will be facing off against the Nashville Predators. The Yotes are hoping to continue to build momentum, they are going to be coming off a win at home against the San Jose Sharks. This will be the last meeting between the two teams, and so far the Coyotes are 2-1. After a slow start to March the Yotes have finally recorded a victory, and what a victory it was, but there is no time to relax, they are 4 points behind a division title with only 13 games remaining. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Yotes and the Predators.

The Coyotes are going to need to do what they did on Saturday again to win against the Predators. The Coyotes have been successful against the Preds, but they shouldn't take the team lightly, the one win that Nashville has was a shutout victory. At home the Coyotes are pretty good, they are 18-12-5, but the one loss that they have against Nashville this season occurred at home.

Nashville has been doing very well this season, they are fifth in the Western conference and in terms of points they are fifth in the entire league. For a while they were neck and neck with the St. Louis Blues, who have since moved on to take the division from Detroit and are currently leading the league. Nashville averages about 2.82 goals in a game, and against the Coyotes they have 2.33 goals in their games. Nashville has a good away record, they are currently 17-13-2, and they won their last away game against the Florida Panthers. For the month of March they are currently 3-1.

Five For Winning:

1. Score first. The Yotes scored first for the first time in a while against San Jose on Saturday and they controlled the game and they won. If they can do it again then maybe the win will happen again. The Coyotes also won the two games they scored first against Nashville.

2. Special teams. Nashville has a power play goal and a short handed goal against the Coyotes, and they are second in the league for power play goals. The Coyotes special team is going to have to be in top form against this team.

3. Win the first period. Earlier games this month the Coyotes ended up facing a big deficit after the first period, and the Coyotes can not let this happen again. Even if the Yotes score first they can not let Nashville come back and win the period.

4. No stupid mistakes. The Coyotes had previously had a lot of turnovers which lead to their opponents scoring, which is something that they didn't seem to do as much against San Jose. They can not allow their opponents opportunities to score because of bad passes.

5. Shots from everyone. One of the beautiful things about the last game was defenseman Michael Stone scored the second goal, his first in the NHL. This should show everyone on the team that goals can come from anyone, even the players you don't expect to score goals.

Key Players


Ray Whitney

#13 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

5-10

180

May 08, 1972



G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Ray Whitney 21 40 61 21 24

The Wizard Ray Whitney has goals in two games against the Predators this season and has 2 goals and an assist in the past 5 games. He had a chance at a penalty shot against the Sharks, which unfortunately he could not get, although it was not necessary for the Yotes to get the win.


Mike Fisher

#12 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-1

208

Jun 05, 1980



G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Mike Fisher 20 21 41 11 31

Mike Fisher is Nashville's number one goal scorer, he has 2 goals and an assist in the past five games including a game winning goal. Fisher hasn't scored against the Coyotes but the Center shouldn't be taken lightly by the Coyotes.

Likely Starting Goalies


Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-4

215

Mar 22, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Mike Smith 55 3164 30 17 120 2.28 1633 1513 .927 5

Mike Smith finally got his 30th win against on Saturday, his first win of the month of March. He has yet to play against the Predators this season, Jason LaBarbera was in net for the previous games, but with a needed victory I expect Tippett to start the number 1 goalie.


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

209

Nov 03, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Pekka Rinne 61 3523 38 14 138 2.35 1845 1707 .925 4

Pekka Rinne has only gotten one win against the Coyotes but as the number one goalie in terms of wins its likely that Nashville will give him the start. Pekka Rinne's goals against average is just slightly above Smith's so this may turn into a good goalie battle.

Injuries


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Martin Hanzal other-excused 03/11/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Schlemko foot 01/08/2012
Derek Morris groin 02/12/2012
Kyle Chipchura wrist 02/19/2012


Nashville Predators Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kevin Klein other-excused 03/11/2012
Brian McGrattan other-excused 03/11/2012

Remember to head over to On the Forecheck for Nashville's side of the story and head back here to check out the game day thread and remember that you can post on the thread on your mobile device.

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