Nashville Predators vs Phoenix Coyotes Preview: Howl-O-Ween Edition

USA TODAY Sports

On Halloween night the Nashville Predators come to Glendale to face off in a spooky game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Phoenix Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes needed to make a statement on Tuesday against the Kings and they did with a 3-1 victory. The game featured less scoring then some of the other games of the season, however it did seem to mark a return to "Coyotes hockey." The game featured hard forechecking, tighter defensive play, and stellar goaltending. Hopefully the team will continue that in the near future.

With Nashville coming to town the Coyotes need to just do more of the same. The Coyotes have had good luck against the Predators these past few years, winning a playoff series against them 2 years ago and having 3rd string goalie Chad Johnson shut them out last season, so the Yotes know what to expect. On a few occasions though the Coyotes have played down to opponents they should be able to beat, but if they play a good game they should be able to get the win.

Nashville Predators

During the offseason the Predators managed to draft Seth Jones, a player who many people predicted would be the number 1 pick and he seems to be fitting in well with their system. So far the Preds have been playing the way many people expected them to play, not scoring a lot but winning games by keeping their opponents from scoring.

So far this season the Predators have been okay; they have a 6-5-1 record which puts them at 5th in the Central Division and 11th in the Western Conference. Nashville has only played 5 games on the road so far this season and they have a 2-3-0 record, the Coyotes have a 5-0-1 home record. They have been in Phoenix for most of the week though, playing their last game against the Blues on the 26th, so don't expect them to have jet leg.

Team Rankings

Ranking

Phoenix Coyotes

Nashville Predators

Goals For

Tied for 4th (3.31)

27th (1.92)

Goals Against

23rd (3.00)

12th (2.58)

PP %

13th (20.0)

20th (15.8)

PK %

12th (82.4)

14th (81.8)

Keys to the Game

Defense. Nashville isn't exactly an offensive power house and aren't likely to score too many goals tonight in Phoenix. It's important that the Coyotes don't make it easy for them and play a solid defensive game to keep them off the scoreboard as much as possible. The Yotes have proved they can still play this style of hockey.

Win faceoffs. Controlling faceoffs is a good way to control the game; it can keep your opponents from scoring in your zone and can lead to goals and scoring chances in your opponents' zone. The Coyotes have been solid in this area for a lot of the season but being down 2 centermen means they are going to need to work extra hard to win the draw.

Score first and keep up the pressure. It's very likely that this will be a low scoring game and because of that every goal is going to matter, especially the first one. While the Coyotes have managed to come from behind, things are much easier for them when they score early and control the game.

Who's Hot?


David Legwand

#11 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-2

205

Aug 17, 1980



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - David Legwand 1 6 7 -5 2

David Legwand has 4 assists in his past 5 games with the Predators and is tied with Craig Smith for team points with 7 points. He is also tied with Mike Smith for goals this season.


Andy Miele

#21 / Center / Phoenix Coyotes

5-9

180

Apr 15, 1988



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Andy Miele 0 2 2 2 0

In his first game with the Coyotes this season Andy Miele looked great and had assists on the Coyotes first and third goal. Miele is looking to make a statement and prove that he is ready to be in Phoenix full time as opposed to Portland and will likely try to have another big game tonight.

Likely Starting Goalies

Carter Hutton

#30 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-1

195

Dec 19, 1985



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Carter Hutton 4 223 2 1 9 2.42 123 114 .927 0

The Predators game plan may have been thrown off in the past few weeks though when news broke that their star goaltender Pekka Rinne would have to sit out after a hip infection ultimately led to surgery. Carter Hutton will have to step up though and so far he led them to a 3-1 victory against the Jets but ultimately was in net for 5 goals in 26 shots against the St. Louis Blues.


Thomas Greiss

#1 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-1

215

Jan 29, 1986



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Thomas Greiss 3 119 1 1 4 2.02 67 63 .940 0

After a few rough starts the Coyotes needed to show that they had confidence in Mike Smith to start, and that confidence was rewarded on Tuesday when Smitty had 41 saves on 42 shots. That being said, this may be a good time to give Thomas Greiss the net; he played extremely well against the Flyers and Nashville doesn't score a lot of goals, so it's a good team for the backup to face.

Injury Report

At the time of this article being written there is some uncertainity regarding Coyotes injuries. Radim Vrbata has been sick, David Schlemko barely played in the 3rd period of the LA game because of a lower body injury, Lauri Korpikoski is still technically on the injured reserve list although he may play, and Jeff Halpern and Rostislav Klesla are both day to day with injuries. Martin Hanzal is also serving the final game of his suspension.

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne is out with a hip infection and will likely be side lined for at least a month after surgery. Roman Josi also suffered a concussion against the Colorado Avalanche on October 4th, but is likely to return to the lineup tonight.

Puck Drop

The game starts at 7pm at Jobing.com Arena and will also be aired on Fox Sports Arizona and KMVP 860 AM.

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