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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 24th (All times eastern)

Nashville Predators (25-20-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (25-21-2), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - With their goaltending situation seemingly shored up for the next few years, Phoenix will now try to work on ending its playoff drought. The Coyotes will play their final game before the All-Star break as they host the Nashville Predators at Jobing.com Arena.

On Tuesday, the Coyotes signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a three-year contract extension. Bryzgalov went 2-3-1 in nine games with Anaheim before being placed on waivers. He was claimed by Phoenix on November 17 and has since gone 16-10-2 with a 2.33 goals-against average in 28 starts with the Coyotes.

Bryzgalov made 19 saves the day before signing his new deal in a 6-2 victory over Buffalo. Shane Doan recorded a goal and an assist and has six goals and seven assists over his last nine games.

Rookie Peter Mueller also posted a goal and an assist to help the Coyotes snap a two-game skid. Mueller is currently riding a seven-game point streak, totaling four goals and seven helpers in that span.

Daniel Winnik, Niko Kapanen, Derek Morris and Ed Jovanovski also scored in the win.

The Coyotes, who have missed the last four postseasons, are four points back of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

Phoenix was without leading scorer Radim Vrbata for a third straight game due to a groin injury. He has 18 goals on the year and is questionable for tonight.

The Coyotes are 2-1-1 so far on a five-game homestand that concludes tonight. Phoenix is 10-11-2 as the host this year and begins a five-game road trip on Tuesday after the break in Columbus.

Nashville is one team ahead of Phoenix in the conference and has won its last three games. The Predators have also collected at least a point in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2) after blanking Colorado, 4-0, on Tuesday.

Dan Ellis stopped 38 shots to record the fourth shutout of his career, with all four coming this season.

Martin Erat scored two goals for the Predators, Shea Weber had a goal and an assist and Ryan Suter collected two helpers. J.P. Dumont also notched an assist to run his franchise and career-best point streak to 13 games (eight goals, 10 assists). It is the second longest in the league behind only Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf (15 games).

The Predators were without both David Legwand and Radek Bonk on Tuesday. Legwand is also expected to miss tonight's game, while Bonk is doubtful.

Nashville is even with Columbus for second place in the Central Division, but both teams are 24 points back of front-running Detroit.

The Preds are 11-12-2 on the road this year and play the middle portion of a three-game swing tonight. Nashville wraps the trek on Tuesday in Boston.

Phoenix posted a 6-3 victory when the two clubs met on October 11 for the first time this year, with the Coyotes Fredrick Sjostrom posting a hat trick in that game. The Coyotes have won three of the last four meetings in the series and have won three straight over the Predators in Phoenix.

01/24 10:55:35 ET

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