GAME: Nashville Predators (15-13-4-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (11-11-11-1).
TIME: Saturday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Phoenix Coyotes are understandably excited about opening their new
arena. They are even more pumped up because they'll christen the place coming
off a productive road trip.
The Coyotes open their $220-million, 17,799-seat building in suburban
Glendale against the Nashville Predators.
Coach Bob Francis skated his team through a 90-minute workout at Glendale
Arena on Friday in preparation for this game. Francis said he expects the
building to be rocking starting from the pregame warmups.
"The adrenaline will be pumping a little extra through the players on
Saturday night," Francis said. "We open Glendale Arena with some momentum,
but we need to continue to play our style and have everyone contribute. The
building I am sure will be loud and the fans will be into the game right from
David Tanabe scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Ladislav
Nagy had two assists to lead the Coyotes over the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on
Phoenix withstood two late Columbus power plays to end its four-game
road-trip with a win after three ties. The win snapped a streak of four
consecutive road ties for the Coyotes, whose 11 draws are the most in the
"It's going to be a big two points against the Predators and we will
probably be saying that for the remainder of the regular season," said Coyotes
goaltender Sean Burke, who made 27 saves against Columbus. "Over the next
month, we will play many of the teams we will be fighting with for positioning
in the standings. We need to begin the stretch on a positive note with a win
Phoenix has lost just once in its last seven overall (2-1-4), including a
3-3 tie at Nashville on Monday.
"It's important that we come out of the gate fast and have a strong first
period," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "Hard work is the key to our
success and that isn't going to change at all. We just played Nashville in
their building and it was a hard fought game."
After going 8-5-1 in November, the Predators have struggled to build
momentum this month, going just 3-3-3-2.
The Predators are coming in off a 2-1 loss in Dallas on Friday. Dan Hamhuis
pulled Nashville within one 1:30 into the third, but the Predators, despite
outshooting the Stars 9-1 in the final period, couldn't notch the equalizer.