The Coyotes will begin a five-game road trip with a match against the Nashville Predators on Monday night. The puck drops at 5 p.m. Arizona time at Bridgestone Arena.
"It's important," defenseman Alex Goligoski said of the trip. "We might not be in a playoff run, but the end of the season matters going forward here. As an organization, we want to set the tone and have kind of a standard to live up to."
Goligoski has notched 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 28 career games vs. Nashville. That's his highest point total vs. any NHL team.
Arizona (26-36-9) has defeated the Predators twice already this season and outscored them, 7-3, in those games. However, both of those games were played in Glendale, and the Coyotes have lost five consecutive games at Nashville.
Mike Smith, who stopped 38 of 40 shots in a 3-0 loss to St. Louis on Saturday, will be back in goal for his 49th start of the season.
Video: Dave Tippett previews Monday's game at Preds
Captain Shane Doan will miss a second game in a row thanks to a lower-body injury he suffered in Thursday's game vs. Detroit.
Arizona has earned points in five of its past six games (3-1-2).
"I think our younger players are getting more comfortable," forward Tobias Rieder told NHL.com. "We're just growing as a team. We know we have to get better every game. That's what our goal was, and I think we did that over the last couple of games. We improved every game and that's why we got the points."
Arizona on Sunday recalled forward Laurent Dauphin and defenseman Zbynek Michalek from the American Hockey League. Michalek, who ranks second only to Doan in games played in Coyotes history with 609, has played the entire season in the AHL. He will play in Monday's game on the third defensive pairing alongside rookie Jakob Chychrun.
"It was a nice surprise to be able to get called up one more time and see what happens," Michalek said. "I just want to enjoy it and have fun with it."
Video: Zbynek Michalek discusses his return to NHL
Nashville (35-25-11) has won three of its past four games and will enter the game in the Western Conference's second wild-card spot, six points ahead of Los Angeles.
"I think every game from now on is going to be huge," defenseman Roman Josi told NHL.com. "We're in a race. The Kings are right behind us and we're in a big battle with the Blues for third in the Central so every game is going to be huge. We definitely want to take care of these home games."
Pekka Rinne, who became the 67th goaltender in NHL history to appear in 500 games last Thursday, is expected to start as the Predators begin a three-game homestand vs. Pacific Division teams.
Forward Ryan Johansen leads Nashville with 55 points and 43 assists. Forward Filip Forsberg is the team's top goal scorer with 29, and he is averaging a goal per game over the past 13 games.
Defenseman P.K. Subban has notched eight goals and 27 assists in 55 games in his first season with Nashville.
Forward Viktor Arvidsson is riding a four-game point streak with three goals and two assists during that span. Arvidsson, who is having a breakout season at age 23, is tied with Ottawa's Zack Smith for the League-lead with four short-handed goals, which ties Nashville's franchise record for most shorties in a season.
The Predators are not shy when it comes to shooting the puck; they attempt 31.4 shots per game, which ranks sixth in the NHL.
Video: Lawson Crouse previews Monday's game at Preds
OFFICIAL GAME NOTES
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM
COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUP VS. PREDATORS
Domi - Dvorak - Vrbata
Perlini - Martinook - Rieder
Crouse - Jooris - McGinn
Duclair - Holland - Pulkkinen
Ekman-Larsson - Schenn
Goligoski - Murphy
Chychrun - Michalek