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Coyotes look to start new streak in Nashville

by Mike G. Morreale
COYOTES (11-6-5) at PREDATORS (9-8-5)

TV -- None.

Last 10 -- Coyotes 7-1-2; Predators 4-4-2

Season series -- This is the second of four meetings between the teams this season. On Nov. 3, Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski had the first hat trick of his 15-season career and the first by a defender in Coyotes/Jets franchise history to help Phoenix to a 4-3 home win. The Predators held a 3-2 lead through two periods on goals by Francis Bouillon, Sergei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist. Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves in the victory.

Big story -- The Coyotes had streaks of seven straight wins and nine games unbeaten (7-0-2) come to an end Saturday in a 6-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. In the loss, goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who is 10-3-5 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, allowed a season-high six goals. Phoenix had held a 3-1 lead, but the Ducks scored five straight goals.

Team Scope:

Coyotes --
In order for Phoenix to continue making strides in the Western Conference, they'll need some offensive help from other players on the roster. The Coyotes have one player with more than six goals (Lee Stempniak, seven) and one with more than 15 points (Ray Whitney, 16). Shane Doan has struggled this season but did chip in 3 assists in the loss to the Ducks on Saturday -- one shy of his career high. Doan has 1 goal and 7 points in 12 games this season.

Predators -- The Predators, who have just two wins in their last seven games (2-3-2), aren't having much luck in overtime or shootouts this season. The club's 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers on Saturday was its fifth overtime/shootout loss in eight tries this season. It also was the second straight shootout loss on home ice. The Predators won 14 of 20 overtime/shootout games at home in 2009-10.

"We didn't lose the game," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said following Saturday's loss. "We lost a skills competition. They got their goal on a broken stick play."

Who's hot -- Nashville second-line center Jerred Smithson has won 48 of 71 faceoffs over the last five games (67.5-percent success rate). He ranks in the top 10 in the NHL and leads the team with a 58.1-percent efficiency.

Injury report -- Nashville has Matthew Lombardi (concussion) and David Legwand (lower body) on injured reserve. Defenseman Cody Franson left early in the third period Saturday after taking a stick to the throat from New York's Sean Avery. He went to the hospital for evaluation and is listed as probable for Tuesday. … Phoenix is without forward Kyle Turris (upper body) and defenseman Kurt Sauer (concussion).

Stat pack -- Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski had a goal and an assist against Anaheim on Saturday to boost his point total to 12 in 22 games. He had just 11 points in 71 games last season.

Puck drop -- "Things are a little hard for us right now offensively," Trotz said. "Our players are putting out a real good effort and I go to war with anyone who says we are not. We have to stay positive. We have to dissect each game. There are good things like our penalty kill, our defense and our faceoff percentage."
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