Season series: This is second of three meetings. The Coyotes earned a 4-0 win against the Predators on Jan. 28 at Jobing.com Arena.
Big story: It’s a matchup featuring goaltenders who have played huge roles for their respective clubs. Nashville’s Pekka Rinne is boasting a 1.75 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 11 appearances, while Mike Smith has a 2.06 GAA over the past six games for the Coyotes.
Coyotes: Phoenix has responded with back-to-back victories since suffering a 6-2 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday. Captain Shane Doan had a big night Monday, when he scored a pair of goals – including the game-winner in overtime – to lift the Coyotes to a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The victory came just 48 hours after Smith outdueled Antti Niemi in a 1-0 shootout win at San Jose.
Thursday’s match concludes a three-game road trip for the Coyotes, who are 4-1-1 against the Predators at Bridgestone Arena under Head Coach Dave Tippett. Phoenix has not lost on the road to Nashville since Nov. 30, 2010.
Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan will make his first appearance at Nashville on Thursday night since leaving Predators. Sullivan played 317 games over six-plus seasons for Nashville and ranks in the top six on the franchise's all-time goals and all-time points lists.
For those wondering, the Coyotes are 4-1-0 in the last five games they've played on Valentine's Day.
Predators: Nashville also blanked the Sharks this week, as Rinne made 25 saves for his second shutout in three starts in a 1-0 overtime win at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. Colin Wilson tallied the only goal of the game with 2:08 remaining in the extra session.
"I thought the third period we were the better team and I think that momentum kind of carried us to the overtime," Rinne said. "Obviously, it was great to see that (goal) go in."
Who’s hot: Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has recorded at least one point in three straight games vs. the Predators. ... Since allowing four goals in that aforementioned loss to the Coyotes, Rinne is 5-1-0 with a 0.97 GAA.
Injury report: Phoenix is missing forward Matthew Lombardi (upper body) and defenseman David Schlemko (upper body). … Nashville will be without forward Patric Hornqvist (knee). Defenseman Hal Gill (undisclosed) is day-to-day.
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