Thursday, November 3, 2011
Predators Hope to Rebound in Phoenix Tonight
The Nashville Predators headed into Glendale, Arizona yesterday to await the return of the Phoenix Coyotes who played in Colorado last night and brought home a 4-1 win over the Avalanche.
The Coyotes got scoring from four separate players and Mike Smith improved his record to 5-2-2, stopping 39 of 40 Colorado shots in the convincing victory.
The Predators are coming off a hard-fought 5-4 overtime loss in Chicago on Monday night and hope to turn things around as they continue their five-game “CMA” road trip with a swing to the desert and the west coast.
After not finding the net in his first seven games of the year, Patric Hornqvist has scored in three straight games, including a goal on Saturday, 14 seconds into the contest with Anaheim, and then on Monday, 26 seconds in to the Preds game with the Hawks.
Hornqvist hopes that his luck continues tonight as he has had eight points (5g, 3a) in nine career games against the Coyotes.
Craig Smith also scored his fourth goal of the season on Monday and was then named runner-up to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the rookie of the month balloting for October. His nine points (4g, 5a) rank him second to David Legwand (3g, 8a) for the team lead.
After recalling Ryan Thang for one game to fill out the roster, Mike Fisher should return tonight and Sergei Kostitsyn will be a game-time decision according to Ryan Porth. Nick Spaling remains on injured reserve.
Pekka Rinne (5-4-2, 2.50, .922) is expected to get the nod in net but Anders Lindback (0-0-0, 1.50, .958 may get a start in net at some point during the west coast swing.
Mike Smith got the start last night against the Avalanche so it is possible that Jason LaBarbara (2-1-1, 3.50, .883) could be in net tonight since is the first set of back to back games this season for the Coyotes.
The two teams met previously on October 13 for the Predators’ home opener, when Nashville did little right in a 5-2 loss. LaBarbara got the win in net, stopping 23 of 25 shots.
The Predators are 9-13-2 playing in Phoenix and last played at Jobbing.com Arena on January 18 when they won 5-2 behind ex-Pred, J.P. Dumont’s fourth career hat trick.
After tonight’s game, Nashville will continue on to San Jose on Saturday, Los Angeles on Tuesday, Anaheim on Wednesday, and then return home on November 12 for a huge celebration when the team will play Montreal in the 1000th game in franchise history.
Go here for POTG discount tickets for the Montreal game as well as all remaining games and use the offer code preds.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass