By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will continue a three-game trip tonight with a game against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (14-9-3) will enter the game less than 24 hours after beating the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3 in a shootout, at the United Center on Monday night.
Thirteen different Coyotes tallied a point when Phoenix beat the Predators, 5-2, in Nashville's home opener on Oct. 13. The Preds evened the season series with a 3-0 victory at Jobing.com Arena on Nov. 3.
With a game at red-hot Detroit looming on Thursday, the Coyotes will rest starting goalie Mike Smith
and turn to backup Jason LaBarbera
tonight. LaBarbera already has faced Nashville twice this season and stopped 51 of 55 shots in those games (one win and one loss).
Defenseman Keith Yandle
, who scored a goal and made a key save in Monday night's victory, will play in his 200th consecutive game tonight.
Winger Ray Whitney
will take the ice needing just one more assist to reach 600 for his NHL career.
Center Cal O'Reilly
is back in Nashville for the first time since the Predators traded him to the Coyotes on Oct. 28. O'Reilly played 85 games for Nashville over four seasons after being picked by the Predators in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. O'Reilly has been a healthy scratch for the Coyotes the past five games.
The Predators (12-10-4) will enter the game having won just two of their past seven contests. Nashville last played on Saturday and lost, 3-2, to the Buffalo Sabres on home ice.
|Photo by Getty Images.
In their 12 victories this season, the Predators have received game-winning goals from 11 different players. Only left wing Nick Spaling has notched multiple game-winning goals.
Center Craig Smith is having an outstanding rookie season for the Predators, and leads the club with 21 points in 26 games. He ranks second behind Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in scoring among NHL rookies.
Pekka Rinne likely will be in goal for Nashville. For his career, Rinne is 7-4-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage against the Coyotes.
The Predators will play minus forward Jordin Tootoo, who was suspended on Tuesday for two games for charging Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller during Saturday's game.