NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, November 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (5-4-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (6-3-2), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Predators were able to earn a point in the opener of
their five-game road trip on Monday, but now the real travel begins.
Nashville's next four games are against Pacific Division residents and tonight
it tries to put a stop to the Phoenix Coyotes' five-game point streak in the
second meeting of the season between the clubs.
The annual presence of the Country Music Association Awards at the Bridgestone
Arena necessitates an extended road trip for the Predators at the beginning of
November and they began that usual swing in Chicago on Monday. Patric
Hornqvist scored twice for Nashville, including 26 seconds into the game, but
the Preds couldn't hold off the Blackhawks and lost a 5-4 decision in
Pekka Rinne made 30 saves, but failed to come up with a stop on Viktor
Stalberg's OT winner. Rinne also had an assist, his first since Nov. 28, 2009.
"He was outstanding," Predators head coach Barry Trotz said about Rinne. "He
got us the point tonight."
After failing to secure a third straight win, Nashville, 3-2-1 on the road
this season, will now pack its bags and head west to take on the Coyotes,
Sharks, Kings and Ducks before it finally returns home on Nov. 12 to host
Given the length of the trip, a couple of new bodies could do the club well
and both injured forwards Sergei Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher practiced on
Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling with the team.
Fisher missed the beginning of the season due to shoulder surgery and played
in three games before taking a blindside hit versus the Ducks on Oct. 29. He
is being listed with an upper-body injury and did not travel to Chicago, but
sounds like he is ready to go on this part of the trip.
"I've felt pretty good the last couple of days on the ice," Fisher told
Nashville's website. "It could have been a lot worse. Sometimes you never know
how bad those can be. Thankfully, it looks like I'll be good to go
Kostitsyn, meanwhile, did not play versus the Blackhawks because of a left leg
issue and is expected to be a game-time decision tonight.
The Coyotes have also been racking up points as of late. They are 4-0-1 in
their last five games and won their third straight for the first time this
season last night with a 4-1 triumph in Colorado.
Radim Vrbata continued his hot play, notching a pair of goals in the win. He
has four tallies and three assists in his last three games since being
reunited on a line with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. The trio as a whole
has recorded seven goals and 10 assists in the three games.
Mike Smith made 39 saves and has started each contest of this five-game
point streak, yielding a total of 12 goals.
"My hat goes off to Smith cause he was the one who won the game tonight," said
Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "He's been great for us this year and I'm
real happy for him and with his play."
Behind solid play from Smith, the Coyotes improved to 6-0-0 when leading after
"It wasn't a pretty game but we were able to get that first goal and I think
we are a better team when we have a lead," said Vrbata.
That was certainly the case when the Coyotes visited the Predators back on
Oct. 13, getting goals from Whitney, David Schlemko and Lauri Korpikoski
during a seven-minute span in the first period that helped them role to a 5-2
It was Phoenix's sixth victory in is last nine games versus Nashville, which
has lost eight of its last 11 trips to the desert.
11/03 10:51:48 ET