Predators Hand Coyotes Second Straight Loss In Shutout In Nashville

Phoenix Coyotes look to get back on track against a struggling Nashville Predators squad.

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Coyotes Drop Second Straight Game Against Predators In Nashville

The Phoenix Coyotes' offense did all they could to put the puck in the net, but in the end, Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was just too strong, shutting out the Coyotes and handing them a 3-0 defeat.

Coming off a string of bad luck performances, Rinne was in rare form on Tuesday night against the Coyotes, stopping all 33 shots he faced in the win, his first in his last five starts.

In the Phoenix net, Ilya Bryzgalov wasn't terrible, but did allow two goals on just 23 shots, granted those goals came on the power play. Bryz, who has been lights out on the road, gave up an early power play goal, before allowing the second in the latter half of the second period.

Nashville struck early on a Shea Weber power play goal, with David Schlemko in the box for interference. Leading scorer Cal O'Reilly netted his goal in the second period, on the 5-on-3, with both Derek Morris and Adrian Aucoin in the sin bin. Jordin Tootoo added the empty netter to seal the deal.

Phoenix's inability to stay out of the penalty box certainly didn't do them any favors on Tuesday night. Two of the three Nashville goals came on the power play, with the other coming via the empty net in the third period. On the night, the Coyotes went to the box seven teams, each with a different player committing the penalty.

While the Coyotes had chances with those 33 shots, penalties killed them, and their inability to win faceoffs, at just 42 percent, didn't help much either. The Coyotes were visibly gassed, with the special teams, mainly the penalty kill, seeing so much ice time.

The Coyotes will get a chance to salvage this two-game road swing, when they head to Minnesota, for a tilt with the Wild on Wednesday night.

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Phoenix Coyotes Look To Start New Streak Against Predators in Nashville

The Phoenix Coyotes will look for a return to form when they head to Nashville for a tilt with the Predators on Tuesday night.  The Yotes saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end in their 6-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.  In Nashville, they'll meet another struggling opponent

After a hot start, the Predators find themselves struggling to stay  afloat, having lost four in a row and five of their last seven.  Much of that comes back to their inability to put the puck in the net.  Nashville is averaging barely over two goals per game, and a dismal 11 percent on the power play.  However, their defense does keep them in games, allowing just over two and a half goals a game, good for 11th in the league.

On the flip side, Phoenix's offense has been very good, netting almost three goals per game.  Similar to Nashville, the Yotes lack star power, but have gotten steady production from up and down their lineup, with seven players over 10 points on the season.

In what has the potential to be a low-scoring affair, due to the stinginess of the Preds' defense, and the ineffectiveness of their offense, this game should come down to the guys between the pipes.

There are few hotter goaltenders in the league than Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov.  He slipped up against Anaheim, allowing six goals, but he allowed just six in his previous four games combined.  The big Russian is 10-3-5 on the season, and has faced more shots than almost any goalie in the NHL, coming in at third in that category.

His counterpart, Pekka Rinne, is struggling over his last four, posting an 0-2-2 record.  Despite his sub-.500 record on the season, his overall stats aren't terrible, with a .914 save percentage, which is one notch below Bryz on the season.

Tuesday presents an interesting game for the Coyotes, in that it lacks that Crosby-type star power to make it a marquee matchup, but it still gives an exciting contest, pitting a potent offense against a strong defense.  While this looks like another should-win for Phoenix against a struggling Nashville squad, the Ducks showed us that no team is going to hand you a 'W'.

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