The Arizona Coyotes will take every edge they can get when they are struggling as much as they are. Nashville's recent woes will give them the perfect opportunity to get another two points at home.
Matchup at a Glance
|Nashville Predators||Arizona Coyotes|
|Points||89 (1st Central||49 (6th Pacific)|
|Goals For||2.85 (T-8th)||2.08 (29th)|
|Goals Against||2.39 (5th)||3.29 (T-28th)|
|Power Play||16.5% (24th)||21.0% (6th)|
|Penalty Kill||81.7% (T-13th)||77.9% (27th)|
|5v5 SAT||52.7% (T-5th)||49.0% (22nd)|
|SpSV%||100.6 (12th)||96.8 (30th)|
View from Nashville
View from Arizona
Were it not for a goalie by the name of Carey Price, Saturday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens may have ended very differently. Arizona had stout defense and turned the heat up in the third period, doubling up the Habs in shot attempts. It was not quite good enough to beat Price though, as Arizona lost 2-0.
The team's shift to speed is starting to become noticeable. John Moore is a surprisingly good skater, and has received time on the power play as a reward. He could become a real scoring threat with the man advantage should he improve his decision making and passing ability. He is just one of many Coyotes who will have a lot of growing to do over the next six months.
Keys to the Game
- Zone Entries - The Coyotes really miss Keith Yandle's zone entry proficiency, especially on the power play. They have to continue carrying the puck in as opposed to resorting to the dump-and-chase and they need to generate more creative looks in the neutral zone.
- Slot Coverage - With the exception of the Lars Eller goal, the Coyotes did a great job limiting the number of good looks at the puck in front of the crease against Montral. A similar kind of solid defensive play will give the Coyotes a great chance to win games going forward.
- Top Line Matchups - Arizona did a pretty good job matching Montreal's best line stride for stride. Nashville is another team with a good top three, so the Coyotes will need to defend them well.
For the Predators, Craig Smith has a goal and three assists in his last five games. He's been a pleasant surprise after a somewhat disappointing sophomore season for the Predators.
Arizona's Mike Smith has posted a .931 save percentage or better in each of the three games on this homestand. Unfortunately, he's only 1-2-0 in those games.
Eric Nystrom is not expected back in the lineup until later in March, while Anton Volchenkov is close to returning from injured reserve. He may not be available tonight though.
Arizona will continue without Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker for the rest of the season.
Tonight's game begins at 7 PM Arizona time. The game will be on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and on the radio at ESPN 620 AM.