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Game Day: Preds vs. Coyotes

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(19-15-7) Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes (20-16-4)
  8 P.M. (CT) | Gila River Arena | #NSHvsARI
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game

The Nashville Predators continue their four-game road swing with a stop in Arizona tonight to face the Coyotes at Gila River Arena. It's the second half of a back-to-back situation for the Preds; they fell 5-3 to the Colorado Avalanche last night in Denver.

Ryan Johansen tallied a goal and an assist in his Preds debut Friday, scoring on the power play just 2:35 into the contest. Johansen became the first Predator with a goal and an assist in his team debut since Denis Grebeshkov on March 2, 2010, and was the first Predator to score in his debut since Miikka Salomaki on Jan. 10, 2015, versus Dallas. His goal was the third-fastest tally from the start of a Predators debut behind J-P Dumont and Mikko Lehtonen.

Ryan Ellis scored his fifth goal of the season, and now has points in four of his last six games (2g-2a), while his defense partner Mattias Ekholm posted two assists in the contest and has notched three multi-point games in his last five outings (2g-4a).

The Predators have posted at least 30 shots in a game on 23 occasions in 2015-16, including five contests where the team had 40-plus shots. The team has also allowed 25 shots or fewer in 18 games, with the season low being 15 shots on Dec. 1 against Arizona. Nashville ranks near the top in fewest shots allowed per game; plus, the Preds are also at the top of the NHL in shot differential with a plus-4.63.

Defenseman Roman Josi leads Nashville in points on the season with 31, including nine goals. With a goal against the Avs, Filip Forsberg slid into the second spot with 27 points, including 11 goals. Captain Shea Weber also has 11 goals to go along with 26 points, and James Neal, who is one goal away from 200 for his career, leads the team with 15 goals. Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who played last night at Colorado, is 16-13-6 on the season; Carter Hutton owns a 3-1-1 record.

Neal is on a six-game point streak against the Coyotes (4g-3a) while Ribeiro has recorded a point in five of his last six games versus Arizona (2g-7a). Weber has five assists in his last three games versus the Coyotes; Johansen has a point in three of his last four games against Arizona (3g-2a).

Mikkel Boedker leads the Coyotes in points with 31, including 12 goals. Captain Shane Doan paces the team in goals with 15, while rookies Anthony Duclair and Max Domi have 11 and 10 goals, respectively. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has registered 11 goals and 27 points from the backend this season. Goaltender Mike Smith is currently on Injured Reserve, with former Preds netminder Anders Lindback and Louis Domingue filling in. Lindback is 5-5-1, Domingue is 5-2-2.

Tonight is the second meeting of the season between the Preds and Coyotes. Nashville is currently on a six-game winning streak versus Arizona and have a point in each of the last seven contests (6-0-1). The last game between these two clubs came on December 1, 2015, at Bridgestone Arena, with the Predators winning by a score of 5-2. Forsberg led the way for Nashville with two goals and an assist. Weber tied a career high with three assists versus the Coyotes, the sixth time he accomplished that in his career.

Tonight will be the 63rd meeting between the two teams. All-time, Nashville holds a 32-24-6 advantage in the series with Arizona.

Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Mike Fisher and James Neal

What to Watch for: Pete and Brent Breakdown

Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette

Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

The Predators did not hold a morning skate on Saturday, below is the team's projected lineup based on their game versus the Avalanche yesterday.

Filip Forsberg Ryan Johansen James Neal
Colin Wilson Calle Jarnkrok Mike Ribeiro
Miikka Salomaki Mike Fisher Craig Smith
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Austin Watson
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis
Anthony Bitetto Barret Jackman


Goaltenders: Carter Hutton is expected to start in net tonight with Pekka Rinne serving as the backup.

(F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (D) Petter Granberg, (F) Viktor Arvidsson, (F) Cody Hodgson

Arizona Coyotes:

Max Domi Antoine Vermette Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder Martin Hanzal Anthony Duclair
Jordan Martinook Brad Richardson Shane Doan
Kyle Chipchura Boyd Gordon Viktor Tikhonov
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Connor Murphy
Klas Dahlbeck Zbynek Michalek
Nicklas Grossmann Michael Stone


Goaltenders: Louis Domingue is expected to start in net tonight with Anders Lindback serving as the backup.

(F) John Scott, (D) Stefan Elliott, (F) Steve Downie, (G) Mike Smith, (F) Joe Vitale

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