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Predators vs. Coyotes Match-Up To Watch

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne vs. Ilya Bryzgalov

The goaltenders have been a key to the team successes for both the Predators and Coyotes. Both coaches play a style that puts a premium on defense and both squads are at their best in close games. Bryzgalov and Rinne both seem to thrive in the spotlight.

The Coyotes have picked up points in six games this season; Bryzgalov has average 34.2 saves in those six game, stopping 205-of-220 shots (.931 save percentage), including making 40-or-more saves in two of Phoenix’s three wins. In their four regulation losses, Coyotoes goaltenders have stopped 117-o-f131 shots (.893 save percentage). Last season Bryzgalov ranked among the league leaders in goals against average (2.29 – 6th in NHL/3rd Western Conference) and save percentage (.920 – 9th NHL/4th Western Conference) to lead Phoenix to a 107-point season, fourth-best in the NHL.

Rinne has been just as integral in the Preds success. He’s made 30-or-more saves in four of his six outings this season and his .928 save percentage ranks eighth in the NHL. Last season he was at his best during Nashville’s two pivotal runs -- the 11-2-0 stretch from late October through November that vaulted the Preds into the middle of the playoff mix and the 11-3-1 push to end the season -- posting a .937 save percentage and six shutouts in those games. Outside of those two stretches, the Preds were 25-24-5 last season and Rinne’s save percentage was just under .900.

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