COYOTES (2-2-0) at PREDATORS (3-0-2)
TV: FS-A, FS-TN
Season series: This is the first game between the Arizona Coyotes and Nashville Predators. The Predators earned five of a possible six points against the Coyotes last season. The Coyotes' only victory was a 5-4 shootout win on Oct. 31. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne made 29 saves for a 2-0 win on April 10, his only appearance against the Coyotes last season.
Coyotes team scope: This is Arizona's first road game of the season. Center Martin Hanzal (lower body) did not practice Monday, did not make the trip to Nashville and is day-to-day, according to the Arizona Republic. Hanzal (one goal, two assists) is tied for fourth on the Coyotes in points. Left wing Mikkel Boedker leads Arizona with five goals, which ties him for second in the NHL, and in points with six. The problem for the Coyotes in the early going has been defense. Arizona has a minus-5 goal differential, is off a 6-1 home loss to the St. Louis Blues and has allowed 4.5 goals per game, the second-most in the League. Goalie Mike Smith, who tied for third in save percentage (.930) in 2011-12 among goalies who played at least 30 games, has struggled in the early going with a 1-2 record, an .822 save percentage and 5.33 GAA.
Predators team scope: The surprising Predators are atop the Central Division with eight points. Rinne, who has started four of Nashville's five games, is a major reason why. The Predators are tied for the second-lowest goals-against average in the League at 1.40 per game and rank fourth in team save percentage at .948. Individually, Rinne is tied for third in wins (three) and ranks eighth in goals-against average (1.22). Center Mike Ribeiro has points in three straight games (two goals, one assist) and forward Colin Wilson has two assists in his past three games. Wing Viktor Stalberg played his second game of the season in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday after sustaining a lower-body injury during the preseason. Coach Peter Laviolette has rotated wing Taylor Beck (two games), wing Rich Clune (one game) and Stalberg (two games) through the lineup. Defenseman Victor Bartley is the only one yet to play.