Nashville’s week-long trip West continued last night against the Arizona Coyotes, the Predators’ first trip to Glendale this season. Arizona, who has been on a three-game losing streak, is sitting in the same position in the Pacific Division as Nashville’s previous opponent, the Colorado Avalanche, are in the Central Division: sixth out of seven. With more losses than wins (10-15-3), the Coyotes need a confidence boost, and why not thwart the on-the-rise Predators? Not only is it Martin Erat’s former, former team that he needed so desperately to be out of, Arizona is also the former home of newest Nashville Predator, Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro struggled both on and off the ice while with the Coyotes, prompting the organization to cut ties with him. Nashville swooped in and snatched the center up, which raised a few eyebrows as a rather risky move. Ah, but that risky move has proven successful as Ribeiro has become a staple of the Predators lineup. Currently holding down the 6th ranking amongst players in +/-, he also holds 18th amongst players in assists and 15th amongst players in save percentages. And Martin Erat? He has had five goals this season compared to Mike Ribeiro’s eight and (his true replacement) Forsberg’s twelve. But who’s counting, right?
- Arizona’s Antoine Vermette (7) got the ball rolling with a powerplay goal at 4:11 with assistance from Mikkel Boedker (9) and Keith Yandle (17).
- Mike Fisher wouldn’t wait long, scoring his first goal of the season at 6:57 and a powerplay goal on top of that. A what? I don’t know what that is! Phil Housley is taking in a deep, thankful sigh right about now. Shea Weber (10) and Filip Forsberg (16) nab the assists on Fisher’s goal.
- James Neal would push Nashville up 2-1 at 11:06 for his eleventh goal of the season. Mike Fisher (3) and Roman Josi (12) would assist in said goal.
- At 18:30, Ryan Ellis would nab his third goal of the season, giving Nashville a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. James Neal (7) and Mike Ribeiro (17) would be awarded the assists.
- Just like in Colorado, no goals were mustered during the second period.
- At just 2:43 into the period, Calle Jarnkrok would tally his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (2) and Filip Forsberg (17) power in with the assists.
- Olli Jokinen would nab the GWG at 7:20, though it was a deflection off of Weber’s shot (oh well, he’ll take all the points he can get) for his second goal of the season. Colin Wilson (7) and Shea Weber (11) would be of assistance.
Another win tallied on this mini road trip as Nashville defeats the Coyotes 5-1 in Glendale. Not to jinx anything, but Nashville is now 19-7-2 on the season and is 2-0-0 on this road trip going into San Jose on Saturday. Though this should have been the game that Pekka Rinne got a much needed rest, he has still managed to keep it strong, blocking 57 of 58 shots in these past two games. Will Hutton get the start against the Sharks? Eh, though they are fourth in the Pacific Division, they are on a two-game winning streak and are 16-11-4. That’s a toughie to call, but we’ll see who gets to mind the net soon.