The Nashville Predators (5-2-3) return to action tonight in Phoenix against the Coyotes (3-4-3) at 9 p.m. Central at Jobbing.com Arena.
Last year, the four games between the Preds and Yotes were competitive and played very close to the vest. The Predators were 1-2-1 against Phoenix and were tight defensive battles with excellent goaltending. Two of the games went to a shootout where the Preds were 1-1.
Barry Trotz and Dave Tippett are very similar in their coaching style and play team oriented games to get the most out of talent available. Tippett won the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year last season while Trotz was the runner up.
While the Predators have struggled in the last two games, the Coyotes have been inconsistent all year, never stinging together two victories in a row. This will be a pivotal game for both teams as the Preds hope to end their two-game side and the Yotes see a wounded team and would like to take advantage of the situation.
Pekka Rinne (2-2-2, 2.41 GAA, .928) will start in goal for the Predators while Ilya Bryzgalov (3-2-3, 2.61, .922) will be in net for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes are almost at full strength with the return of Martin Hanzal who has missed six games.
Matthew Lonbardi was supposed to face his old team for the first time tonight but is weeks away from a return. Ryan Suter and Martin Erat also did not make the three game trip west with the team. Jordin Tootoo, Marcel Goc, and Francis Bouillon are with the team but their health is uncertain at this point.
Neither team has been impressive on special teams with the Predators scoring at a 12.8% clip on the man advantage while the Coyotes are at 9.1%. On the penalty kill, Phoenix has had a 83,3% success rate while the Preds are at 81.6%.
In all probability, with such a close match, the game will be won by the team that plays with the most jump and is able to minimize mistakes.
Other previews from the Predator world come from the Tennessean, Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
Previews from the Desert come from Five for Howling, Arizona Vibe, Coyotes Examiner, the Arizona Republic, and the Coyotes Aggregator.
In Pred Nation...
The launch of Pekka Rinne's Jersey aboard the space shuttle has been delayed once again. NASA will decide today whether to try to go tomorrow or wait until December.
Jim Diamond has the sad story of Zach Budish needing ACL surgery on his good knee as a result of a moped accident. This is a real setback for a prospect that once was regarded as top ten in his draft class.
Jim also met with Predators' coach Peter Horachek and discussed his surgery last week for prostate cancer and his return to the ice on Tuesday. The timing coincides with the Preds' Movember campaign to raise awareness of men's health issues, especially prostate cancer.
Jim continued with a hat trick of articles with a five questions piece with Coyotes Examiner Anthony Perez.
Ryan Porth caught up with Joel Ward for a ten game check-up before he headed west. Joel is great talking about Pekka's mo.
Colin Wilson blogs at Inside Predators about the road trip. Funny that he doesn't mention anything about getting lost at the hotel.
Indications are that Segei Kostitsyn may be moving up to a higher line in a post by Josh Cooper. Josh also tells the story of how the Preds found Anders Lindback and has a notes column.
Hockey's Future looks at the increased role of Prospect Taylor Beck this season. They also finished up their Fall Organization Rankings and the Predators maintained the number one slot.
Barry Trotz is pleased with Jerred Smithson's faceoff work but not with a few others.
Amanda Dipaolo has her weekly Central Division Shakedown at Predlines. All five teams would be in the playoffs if they started today.
After hearing lat week that the Pred-Kings game had been added to the kings schedule, we were optimistic that it would be on the Center Ice package. The latest schedule (as of 11/2) does not show it. It would be a real shame if it is not added as this is a matchup that deserves national exposure.
Pekka Rinne was named a top 10 rising star for November by Brand Affinity. It the jersey going into space the driving force here?
Mike MacDonald has a post at Bleacher Report on the Preds' road trip.
Around the NHL...
Steven Stamkos, Tim Thomas and Chris Stewart were named as the NHL Three Stars of the month for October. This is highway robbery for Tim Thomas. There is no way that Stamkos had a better month than Thomas. Michal Neuvirth was named Rookie of the month which was no surprise to anyone.
As usual, Jason Arnott is baffled, this time over his lack of ice time in the Devils' 3-0 loss to Vancouver on Monday.
In more serious news from New Jersey, Zach Parise will miss three months after his successful knee surgery. The only good news is that the Devils should get some cap relief by placing Parise on LTIR.
James O'Brien looks at the numbers behind the Devils horrible start.
One of the thing we talked about on Monday's POTG Radio was Kyle Turris actually being ready for the NHL. Here is a story about him from the Arizona Republic.
Matt Reitz discusses the two-headed monsters in goal.
John Smallwood says that the Daniel Briere reaction is part of a winning attitude that has a firm grip in Philadelphia.
Jonathan Moncrief takes a look at the week ahead for the Predators' Saturday opponent, the Los Angeles Kings. Before the Kings play the Preds, they have a meeting with the East leading Lightning on Thursday. Drew Doughty has been cleared to play Thursday against the Lightning after missing six games.
Justin Bourne doesn't like hockey agitators and names a couple of names along the way in this Puck Daddy post.
Ryan Port looks at teams that are set to make a turnaround from poor starts. The Devils could play poorly and still improve.
As bad as Anaheim's defense has been, it is no surprise that the Ducks are keeping Cam Fowler past the 10 game mark. He now plans to move in with Scott Niedermayer.
Mirtle reviews the statistics for the Leafs for the first ten games of this year and last year. Goaltending has made a big difference even though the offense is off a little. Meanwhile, Brian Burke is upset with the fans for booing Dion Phaneuf.
Odds and Ends...
Condolences to the family of Pro Surfer, Andy Irons, who passed away yesterday unexpectedly.
This report from the London Times goes against conventional wisdom that folks won't pay for internet news.
Brad Templeton has good information for web page owners on linking to other sites and internet copyright infringement. The only issue I've ever had is other folks copying some of my YouTube videos and posting them on their accounts as if they created them.
Nashville RollerGirl Four Leaf Roller is the WFTDA Featured Skater of the month. To see the RollerGirls Friday night bout at 7:15 on the big screen, head over to Beyond the Edge.
Here's a study that uses Facebook status changes to graphically show when the most active times of the year for relationship breakups might be.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass