The Arizona Coyotes last game against the Minnesota Wild was a huge test for the team. They needed to end a four game losing streak and turn things around offensively. For most of the game it looked like they were going to fail that test, but with the Wild collapsing in the third period the Coyotes were able to capitalize with some secondary scoring assistance. The Yotes managed to score 3 unanswered goals in the third and win the game 4-3.
Its safe to say that it wasn’t the Coyotes best game of the season. The Wild were largely in control of the first forty minutes and that isn’t a recipe for long term success. But after watching the Coyotes collapse late in the third period so many times after strong play in the first two periods it was nice to see them flip that scrip. Michael Grabner managed to net his 6th goal of the season, and he is quickly becoming the player who scored 27 goals in each of his last two season. Its also great that the Coyotes are getting goals from Archibald (first 2 goals of the season) and Lawson Crouse (4th goal of the season) but the team needs more offense from its top lines.
The Nashville Predators may be missing two of their best players but they are still one of the best teams in the league. Nashville’s 35 points are second in the league behind only the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs’ 36, which is a sentence I never thought I would type. Since the last time these two meet the Predators have gone 4-2-0, with losses only against the Colorado Avalanche and the St Louis Blues.
Nashville continues to be a stingy team that gets great goaltending. The Predators are second in the league in goals against, allowing only 60 goals this season. Amazingly goalie Pekka Rinne only has three losses this season in sixteen games played and has a 1.77 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. In terms of special teams the Coyotes surprisingly have the advantage on both sides. The Predators power play is behind the Coyotes at 14.7 percent, and the penalty kill is thirteenth with a 80.0 success rating. Nashville doesn’t allow a lot of goals so special teams could be a real difference maker tonight.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Lawson Crouse - Crouse had a goal and an assist against the Wild. After spending last season in the AHL Crouse is looking to establish his role in the NHL and he seems to be doing that this season.
Nashville: Austin Watson - While he isn’t the biggest name in Nashville, Watson has been improving season after season. He finished with 14 goals last season and had a hat trick two games ago against the Anaheim Ducks.
Arizona: Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)
Nashville: Kyle Turris (upper body), P.K. Subban (questionable, upper body), Viktor Arvidsson (thumb)
Which unit will have the biggest impact tonight?
This poll is closed
Coyotes’ power play
Coyotes’ penalty kill
Nashville power play
Nashville penalty kill