The Nashville Predators (9-8-5) are in desperate need of a confidence boosting regulation win against the Phoenix Coyotes (11-6-5) tonight at the Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators have lost four in a row, two in regulation and two via a shootout, and do not want to equal the five game losing streak of earlier this season.
Phoenix had won seven in a row before losing to Anaheim 6-4 on Saturday. The Yotes are at 27 points and in a four way tie for sixth and the last playoff position in the Western Conference.
Whenever. the Coyotes and Predators hook up, it is like a battle of twins with a Dave Tippett coached team fighting a Barry Trotz coached team. Every inch of the ice is fought over and defense and puck possession are priorities.
In their prior meeting this year on November 3 in Phoenix, Ed Jovanovski's hat trick led the Coyotes to a 4-3 win, in a higher scoring contest than usual between the two teams.
Pekka Rinne (6-7-4, 2.50, .914) will start for the Predators and Ilya Bryzgalov (10-3-5, 2.78, .915) will go for the Coyotes in a battle of two of the league's best netminders.
Phoenix averages 3.0 goals per game while the Preds are at 2.2. Both teams are stingy on penalties with Nashville only having 10.9 minutes per game and the Yotes are at 11.0.
Lee Stempniak leads the Coyotes in goals with seven while Ray Whitney recovered from a slow star and leads in assists (13) and points (16).
It should be a close battle and a game that you should plan to attend to see the Predators battle for much needed points in a crucial Western Conference battle.
Other Predator previews come from Amanda DiPaolo with a focus on Pekka Rinne, Chris Burton, Preds.com and The Tennessean.
For a look at the Coyote side of the game check out Arizona Vibe, Five for Howling, Coyotes Examiner, the Arizona Republic, and the Coyotes Aggregator.
Last night's POTG Radio was a good show that featured Steve Stirling from Intent To Blow and Aaron Wood of AZ Vibe Sports.
Steve discussed the history of Intent to Blow and some of the more popular episodes. Then we turned to the harsh reality of discussing the New Jersey Devils' rough start to the season.
Aaron and I talked about the Coyotes and tonight's match with the Predators. We also covered the ownership situation in Phoenix and some of the challenges the Coyotes face if the new owners do indeed keep the team in place.
Give us a listen at the player below or download the show at iTunes.
I will co-host on Ryan Porth's RLD Hockey Radio at noon Central today. Ryan has a great show lined up with Justin Bourne who writes all over the internet, Adam Jahns from the Chicago Sun Times, and Will DePaoli from Inside Pittsburgh Sports.
In Pred Nation...
Josh Cooper has the latest on Cody Franson's hit with Sean Avery's stick. Franson doesn't say it directly but insinuates that Avery should have avoided the incident. Josh also crunches the numbers to show the Preds don't perform well without David Legwand. Josh also has a notes column this morning that covers some of the same topics as as his blog.
David Boclair talked to Pekka Rinne, who has the first losing record outside of October in his career. Pekka is a competitor who does not like to lose.
Dirk Hoag looks at options for David Poile to replace Matthew Lombardi in the middle of one of the Preds top lines. Also, For the poor souls that loaded up their fantasy teams with Predators, Dirk has the weekly fantasy update.
AJ has his Tuesday AJenda and discusses the seriousness of Matthew Lombardi's injury and how the Preds seem to have a turkey hangover.
Hockey's Future has an update on Preds prospects playing Junior Hockey. Taylor Beck appears more and more like the real deal.
Jeremy Gover writes of Ryan Ellis's third Team Canada selection and the oversight of Taylor Beck not being selected.
Jas Faulkner has the latest in her Greetings from Smashville Series.
Paul McCann has his quarter pole look at the Preds at Hockey Buzz.
Robbie at HNIN has positive news on the attendance front. Tonight's game should be their biggest challenge yet.
Colin Wilson says he likes playing on new lines in his latest blog entry. That's a good thing since he has bounced around like a ping-pong ball since the Lombardi line fell apart.
Kelly at Preds Fanantic seems to be living Groundhog Day over and over with the Predators and is getting frustrated with it.
Bleacher Report labels the Tootoo-Avery Fight, the fight of the month.
World Juniors Updates...
Team Canada announced the 39 players that were invited to the camp to select the final team for the World Junior Championships that begin on December 26.
Launy "The" Schwartz gives his analysis of the team at Hockey 54.
From @Sean_Leahy: USA Hockey announces prelim WJC 28-man roster to be announced Dec 7 & final 22-man roster will be announced Dec 23
Here is information on the pre-tournament games that are set for both the US and Canadian squad.
Around the NHL...
Chris Botta has the story and video on Sidney Crosby's "dirty" play on Ryan Callahan last night against the Rangers. Callahan was actually tagged with an interference penalty. Great sleight of hand (foot) Sid!
The latest All-Star voting is out without the actual numbers. Ovechkin is no longer in the top three forwards.
The Bruins cleared cap space by sending Matt Hunwick to the Avs for Colby Cohen. They may have enough room to squeeze Marc Savard back on the roster and Colorado gets a D-Man with experience.
The MSM-Blogger debate rages on with Travis Hughes trying to make some sense of the issue at Broad Street Hockey.
James Mirtle looks at Brian Burke's first two years in Toronto. He also chronicles Burke's 20 biggest moves with the Leafs. I'm not sure the Preds have had 20 big moves in the history of the franchise.
Justin Bourne writes about a player's view of the shootout. It goes hand in hand with Barry Trotz's recent growlings about a "skills competition."
Adrian Dater writes about Chris Stewart's poor decision to fight and get inured at Versus. He also comments on Chris Pronger breaking the "Avery" rule.
The Pipeline show has an extended piece that tries to clear up a lot of the cross border confusion over CHL-NCAA matters.
Somehow, I missed the "Boomer" the mascot story from Columbus until yesterday. Someone really screwed the pooch, so to speak, on this one. Intent to Blow couldn'tmake up a mascot like this.
Intent to Blow prepared for Steve's appearance on POTG Radio with a couple of new posts. One on Pronger's Inspiration for Douchebaggery and another on the perils of Movember Mustaches for NHLers.
Odds and Ends...
Here is a Christmas idea for the headbanger on your list. Our friend Su Ring's book "Steel Goddesses" is a great read. If you contact her directly at @Motley_Su or firstname.lastname@example.org, she would probably autograph it for you.
The Nahville RollerGirls have a new monthly newsletter that you can subscribe to at their site. Opening night for the NRG will be April 23, 2011 at Municipal against the Kansas City Roller Warriors.
Many effective leaders have bold signs in their office to state their basic principles in a few words and motivate their employees. Mine would probably be "Solve more problems than you create."
Hard to believe that 271 unknown Pablo Picasso pieces have surface in France that are worth $80 million dollars.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass