The Predators return to Phoenix for the first time since last year's second round playoff elimination. Both teams are off to a pretty poor start on the season and will be looking to turn things around tonight. Injuries have left the Coyotes without their playoff hero and goaltending superstar Mike Smith, while the Predators have lost offensive threat Patric Hornqvist.
Nashville: Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game
Anaheim: Fox Sports Arizona and 1510AM KFNN
2011 - 12 Season Series
|3/12||NSH||PHX||5-4 NSH (SO)|
Line Up News
Projected Starting Goaltenders:
|#35 Pekka Rinne||0||1||3||2.36||.912|
|#20 Jason Labarbra||1||2||0||3.26||.897|
Projected Nashville Scratches: #7 D Jonathon Blum, #23 Brian McGrattan and #27 Patric Hornqvist (injury)
Projected Phoenix Scratches: D. Rundblad, M, Lombardi (injury), M Smith (injury) and R. Torres (Suspended)
|#33 Colin Wilson||#12 Mike Fisher||#10 Martin Erat|
|#57 Gabriel Bourque||#11 David Legwand||#74 Sergei Kostitsyn|
|#13 Nick Spaling||#28 Paul Gaustad||#18 Brandon Yip|
|#16 Rich Clune||#15 Craig Smith||#124 Matt Halischuk|
|#6 Shea Weber||#59 Roman Josi|
|#8 Kevin Klein||#22 Scott Hannan|
|#75 Hal Gill||#4 Ryan Ellis|
|#35 Pekka Rinne|
|#30 Chris Mason|
|#26 Steve Sullivan||#55 Antoine Vermette||#19 Shane Doan|
|#89 Mikkel Boedker||#11 Martin Hanzal||#17 Radim Vrbate|
|#28 Lauri Korpikoski||#15 Boyd Gordon||#25 David Moss|
|#12 Paul Bissonnette||# 49 Alexandre Bolduc||#24 Kyle Chipchura|
|#23 Oliver Ekamn-Larsson||#4 Zebnek Michalek|
|#3 Keith Yandle||#53 Derek Morris|
|#26 Michael Stone||#6 David Schlemko|
|#30 Chad Johnson|
|#1 Mike Smith|
Thoughts on Both Teams
Predators: The team will be looking to get their offensive game on track without top six forward Patric Hornqvist, who suffered an upper body injury during Saturday's SO loss to Anaheim. Pekka Rinne is still winless this season and has lost three games in shootouts.
Still scratched is Brian McGratten who will be sitting in favour of fourth line superstar-prospect-most-effective-man-ever Richard Clune. Here at Fang Faction we are still not sure what Trotz or the Preds organization sees in Clune, but we're not getting the same vibes.
Hopefully Nashville still has a bitter taste in their mouth after last year's playoff exit and they can use it do drive them to only their second win of the season.
Coyotes: The Coyotes are also having a hard time finding their stride in this shortened season. They are 1 - 4 - 0 with their win coming over the Blue Jackets. The Coyote's offense has been buzzing, scoring 17 goals in their first 5 games, but their strong-on-paper defense and injured top goalie are hurting the club. They are ranked worst in the league in Goals against, with an average of 4 per game.
The Yotes are going to need to tighten it up in their own zone again and try to limit the shots that reach Third Stringer Chad Johnson, who will be playing in his 7th NHL game; his first with the team.
The team will be looking for a big game from ex-Predator Steve Sullivan who is leading the team with 4 goals in 5 games played. They will also be hoping that Yandle, Ekman-Larsan, Morris and Klesla can be physical and win the battles deep in their own zone.
Phoenix Coyotes Players to Watch:
|#26 Steve Sullivan||5||4||1|
|#17 Radim Vrbata||5||2||3|
|#89 Mikkel Boedker||5||1||4|