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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: November 25, 2013

pregame

Nov 25, 2013



Written by: Kristopher Martel

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Last updated: November 24, 2013 at 10:37 pm

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Nashville Predators (11-10-2) vs Phoenix Coyotes (14-5-4)
Gametime: 7:00pm CT / 8:00pm ET
Television: NHL Gamecenter
Radio: 102.5 The Game

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Injuries

Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne (hip), Filip Forsberg (day-to-day)

Phoenix Coyotes - Lauri Korpikoski (upper body), Zbynek Michalek (lower body), Martin Hanzal (lower body)

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Marek Mazanec, 3-3-0, 1 SO, 0.929Sv%, 2.32GAA

VS

Mike Smith, 12-4-4, 0 SO, 0.912Sv%, 3.02GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Shea Weber – Always a catalyst for his team, Nashville’s captain hit two posts in the final two minutes of play during the Predators recent 2-0 loss to the Rangers on Saturday night. Slamming his stick in frustration afterwards, I’d expect Weber to look to find the back of the net against the Coyotes

Phoenix Coyotes -

Shane Doan – From captain to captain, the Coyotes offense heavily relies on the sturdy veteran to consistently produce. Doan is currently riding an eight-game point streak (7g, 4a) coming into tonight’s game against Nashville.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

A sloppy outing against the New York Rangers can’t have the Predators on their heels come tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. Already ten points back of any meaningful spot in their division and eight points back of a wild card spot, the last one currently being held by the aforementioned Coyotes, Nashville is chasing their Western Conference opponents not even halfway into the season.

With their offense faltering on Saturday night against the Rangers, being shutout for the fifth time this season, players like Craig Smith, David Legwand, and Shea Weber have to find a way to produce, especially against Dave Tippett-coached teams. Usually very stingy, the Coyotes are near the bottom of the league in goals allowed this season with 3.13 per game. Nashville is 9-0-1 this season when scoring 3+ goals in a game. Their one overtime loss? To the Phoenix Coyotes, a team scoring 3.22 goals per game (fourth best in the league).

Marek Mazanec may very well get another start after another strong outing in Nashville’s 2-0 loss to the Rangers, stopping 32 of 34 shots. With him playing well, the Predators have a chance to grab points in every game they play in as long as they find some means of offensive contribution.

Phoenix Coyotes -

The Coyotes have lost three of their last four games, this coming after winning nine of their previous 11 games before that. While two of their most recent losses have come in the shootout and overtime respectively, Phoenix’s current two game losing streak is one to be concerned about, especially with Martin Hanzal (who is tied for the team lead in points) leaving the game with a lower body injury.

The formula for Phoenix so far this season is to simply outscore the opposition, scoring 74 goals but allowing 72 in the same span. 11 of their 23 games this season have been settled by a difference of one goal, earning a 7-0-4 record in those 11 games. Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal lead the team in scoring with 19 points apiece, including a team-high 11 goals for Doan. Keith Yandle’s 16 assists place him in a tie for 12th in the entire NHL.

While Mike Smith may have a 12-4-4 record, his stats don’t speak too highly of his play as of late. A 0.912 save percentage and 3.02 goals against average gives him the worst GAA and fourth worst save percentage for all goalies with 10+ wins. However, even with poor statistics, Smith is making the timely saves the Coyotes need to win, and that’s all a team needs to ask of their goaltender.

Last time out...

Matt Hendricks, Eric Nystrom, and David Legwand all scored in the first period of their Halloween-night matchup just a little under one month ago. However, two goals in the second and third, including a Mikkel Boedker shootout goal gave the Coyotes a 5-4 come-from-behind shootout win against the Nashville Predators

One interesting fact...

The Coyotes set five Predators franchise records last time they played in Bridgestone Arena, and they were two that Nashville would like to forget. Scoring six goals in the first period en route to a 7-4 victory, Phoenix set records for:

Most goals scored against the Predators in one period (6)

Two fastest goals against Nashville (Eight seconds apart, Vrbata at 3:42 and Moss at 3:50)

Four fastest goals against Nashville (4:44 – 3:42, 3:50, 7:08, and 8:26 by Vrbata/Moss/Lombardi/Yandle)

Most assists against the Predators by one player in a period (Four by Rotislav Klesla in the first period)

Most points against the Predators by one player in a period (Four by Rotislav Klesla in the first period)

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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua