By Dave Vest GLENDALE – The Coyotes will seek a second consecutive win tonight when they host the Nashville Predators at Jobing.ocm Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (34-25-10) will enter the game in seventh place in the Western Conference standings but just three points behind first-place Dallas in the Pacific Division.
Tonight’s game will be the fourth between these teams this season; the road team has won the first three.
► Click here to watch Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett answer questions after today's morning skate.
Mike Smith, who made 42 saves to post his fifth shutout of the season on Saturday vs. San Jose, will be back in goal tonight. Oddly, it will be Smith’s first start against Nashville this season (backup Jason LaBarbera started the previous three games). Smith is 3-2-0 with a 2.47 goals-against average against Nashville in his career.
The Coyotes are expected to use the same lineup they used in Saturday’s resounding victory over San Jose. That means center Martin Hanzal will miss his second game in a row because of an upper-body injury he suffered vs. Minnesota last Thursday.
Tonight’s game figures to be a low-scoring game considering the Coyotes and Predators rank seventh and 10th, respectively, in the NHL in goals-against average – Phoenix allows 2.41 per game; Nashville allows 2.52.
Photo by Getty Images.
The Predators (40-21-7) will enter the game with a two-game winning streak and in fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
Nashville, which is starting a four-game road trip tonight, is 6-2-1 in its past nine games, but seven of those games were played at home.
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is leading the NHL with 38 victories and ranks eighth in save percentage at .925.
Right wing Patric Hornqvist is leading Nashville with 21 goals, while defenseman Ryan Suter is tops in assists (34) and right wing Martin Erat is tops in points (49).
Despite being ranked second in the NHL in power-play percentage (21.4), Nashville is just 3 for 19 with a man-advantage in its past nine road games.
Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone, who scored his first NHL goal on Saturday vs San Jose, has chipped in three points in the past two games.
Predators left wing Andrei Kostitsyn has notched three goals and three assists in five games with Nashville since arriving in a trade with Montreal.
The Coyotes own a 24‐5‐3 record in the 32 games in which captain Shane Doan has scored a goal over the past two seasons.
The Coyotes have posted a 3‐3‐2 record in games played on Monday this season.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona Plus and on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 7 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.