NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 28th
(All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (13-15-5) at Nashville Predators (14-13-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will try to cap a four-game
homestand with a perfect record when they host the sliding Phoenix Coyotes for
Thursday's clash at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators went 0-4 in the four games prior to this homestand, but they've
rattled off wins against Calgary, Columbus and Edmonton to produce their
second-longest winning streak of the season. Nashville won four straight from
Jan. 31 to Feb. 7.
The recent surge has helped Nashville's postseason chances, but the Preds
enter Thursday two points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The
Predators have qualified for the playoffs in three straight and
seven of the last eight seasons.
Nashville notched a 3-2 regulation win against the Oilers on Monday. The
Oilers opened the scoring, but the Preds tallied three unanswered goals,
ending with Chris Mueller's game-winner with 8:27 left in the second period.
Sergei Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist for the Predators and Kevin Klein
also scored. Pekka Rinne made 24 saves to help push Nashville's home record to
9-2-4 this season.
"I'm sure it's going to be like this until the end of the season," Rinne said
of the one-goal spread.
Nashville activated forward Patric Hornqvist from injured reserve prior to
Monday's game. He missed the previous eight games with an unspecified upper-
The Preds will play two straight on the road following tonight's contest.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has fallen five points out of a playoff spot after gaining
two of a possible 14 points over the last seven games. The Coyotes are on a
seven-game losing streak (0-5-2) and are in danger of missing the playoffs for
the first time since 2009.
The Coyotes turned in a solid effort in a tough overtime loss against a
streaking Minnesota club on Wednesday. Phoenix led in the third period of the
battle in St. Paul, but Ryan Suter tied the game with 55 seconds remaining in
the third period and Mikko Koivu scored at the 2:43 mark of overtime to lift
the surging Wild to the 4-3 win. It was the seventh straight victory for
Jason LaBarbera finished with 33 saves for a Phoenix team that overcame a two-
goal deficit in the game to grab a 3-2 lead at 1:52 of the third period.
"In the end, we didn't do enough to win," said Phoenix head coach Dave
Tippett. "We took a poor penalty in overtime, we didn't have the desperation
to block a shot in the last minute."
Phoenix, which is playing the middle test of a three-game road trip tonight,
is 3-8-4 as the visiting team in 2013. The Coyotes have lost six straight on
the road since winning at Vancouver on Feb. 26.
The Coyotes and Preds have split a pair of meetings this season with each team
recording a shutout win on home ice. Phoenix has taken five of seven overall
in the series, but Nashville has won two of three in Music City.
03/28 10:57:29 ET