NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 18th (All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (15-12-3) at Phoenix Coyotes (14-13-4), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Dan Ellis appeared to be in jeopardy of losing his starting job earlier this year. Needless to say, he is tightening his grip on the role.
Coming off his second shutout in five games, Ellis will lead his club into Phoenix to take on the Coyotes tonight at Jobing.com Arena.
Injury and inconsistency have troubled Ellis a bit this year, and it didn't help when backup netminder Pekka Rinne won his first six decisions. However, Ellis made 27 saves in Saturday's 3-0 win over Dallas to post his eighth career shutout, tying him with Mike Dunham for third on the team's all-time list.
The win improved the Predators to 4-2-1 in their last 10 games, with Ellis and Rinne combining to post a 1.42 goals against average and .949 save percentage in that span.
Nashville has also recorded four shutouts in its last 10 games for the first time in franchise history. Ellis, who has allowed three goals in his last three starts, is a perfect 2-0-0 with a 2.42 GAA versus Phoenix.
In Saturday's win over the Stars, Joel Ward ended a 13-game goal-less drought by posting his first-career two-goal game and David Legwand also scored in helping Nashville end a three-game losing streak. J.P. Dumont had an assist to give him points in seven of his last eight games (3 goals, 5 assists).
Nashville is 7-8-2 on the road this season.
Though the Coyotes lost, 2-1, in overtime to Dallas on Tuesday, they still have posted at least one point in a season-high four straight games, going 2-0-2. Ilya Bryzgalov has started all four of those games, posting a 2.41 GAA in that time.
He made 28 saves versus the Stars and Todd Fedoruk provided the only goal for the Coyotes, losers in two straight and four of six. Peter Mueller had an assist in his fourth straight game and he has a helper in seven of his last nine contests.
Phoenix plays the first of two straight at home, where they are 9-4-2 this year. The Coyotes have notched a point in four straight as the host (3-0-1).
Tonight marks the first of four meetings this year between the Preds and Coyotes. They have split their four-game series in each of the last two seasons and Phoenix has won four of the last five as the host.
Bryzgalov is 2-0-2 with a 3.62 GAA lifetime against Nashville.
12/18 11:00:59 ET