Game 1: Predators @ Coyotes Preview

The Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes kick off the 2012 Stanley Cup Second Round, Friday night in Glendale, Arizona. Phoenix will be rocking in the White Out to cheer their team on to take a 1-0 lead to start the series. Tonight will show how well the goalies will be playing in this series. Puck drops at 8:10 PM CT.

TV/Radio Coverage

Coverage in Nashville: 102.5 The Game

Coverage in Phoenix: XTRA Sports 910

Coverage in USA: NBC Sports Network

Coverage in Canada: TSN and RDS

Playoff Series

None as of yet.

Line Up News

Starting Goalies:

Name W L OT SV % GAA
#35 Pekka Rinne 4 1 0 .944 1.81
#41 Mike Smith 4 2 0 .950 1.81

Projected Predators Scratches: #22 W Jordin Tootoo, #23 W Brian McGrattan, #24 W Matt Halischuk, #33 C Colin Wilson, #38 D Jack Hillen, #49 D Ryan Ellis and #37 G Chet Pickard

Projected Coyotes Scratches: #37 W Raffi Torres (Suspension), #2 D David Rundblad, #5 D Connor Murphy, #12 W Paul Bissonnette, #20 D Chris Summers, #21 C Andy Miele, #26 D Michael Stone, #33 D Adrian Aucoin, #36 W Matt Watkins, #43 C Marc-Antoine Pouliot, #49 C Alexandre Bolduc, #52 C Brett Hextall, #54 C Ethan Werek, #57 D Maxim Goncharov, #58 W Jordan Szwarz, #35 G Justin Pogge and #75 G Louis Domingue

Injury Report

Predators: NONE

Coyotes: Raffi Torres suspended for entire series. 

Projected Line Ups


#74 Sergei Kostitsyn #12 Mike Fisher #10 Martin Erat
#47 Alexander Radulov #11 David Legwand #57 Gabriel Bourque
#46 Andrei Kostitsyn #13 Nick Spaling #27 Patric Hornqvist
#18 Brandon Yip #28 Paul Gaustad #15 Craig Smith
#6 Shea Weber #20 Ryan Suter
#59 Roman Josi #8 Kevin Klein
#75 Hal Gill #51 Francis Bouillon
#35 Pekka Rinne
#39 Anders Lindback


#13 Ray Whitney #11 Martin Hanzal #17 Radim Vrbata
#89 Mikkel Boedker #50 Antoine Vermette #19 Shane Doan
#14 Taylor Pyatt #15 Boyd Gordon #28 Lauri Korpikoski
#8 Gilbert Brule #22 Daymond Langkow #24 Kyle Chipchura
#3 Keith Yandle #53 Derek Morris
#6 David Schlemko #32 Michal Roszival
#16 Rotislav Klesla #23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson
#41 Mike Smith
#1 Jason LaBarbera

Phoenix Coyotes Players to Watch:

Name G A +/-
#19 Shane Doan 1 1 +1
#50 Antoine Vermette 4 1 -3
#3 Keith Yandle 0 5 +5

Thoughts on Both Teams

Coyotes: The Phoenix Coyotes are entering Game 1 with the slight edge. That slight edge is given to Phoenix because of home-ice advantage. Also, Glendale is rocking in the white out. It gives the players on the ice, a boost of energy, as Predators fans know. 

The key for Phoenix in this game is to take advantage of their power plays. They need to do so because the Nashville defense is so very deep with the return of Hal Gill. The Coyotes are going to have some trouble scoring. Phoenix is 6th in the NHL right now, but they need to stay that pace. Power plays will be key for them. The Coyotes power play is led by Yandle and Ekman-Larsson at the point. The Nashville forwards can’t give them time to shoot.

The Coyotes are going to have to use their depth well. I am expecting the second and third line to be big for the ‘Yotes in Game 1, and throughout this series. Lauri Korpikoski is going to have to improve his game from having zero points. 

Predators: The Nashville Predators are entering Game 1 loose and excited. Hopefully the long period of time, seven days, don’t make them rusty to start the game. This is going to be a huge disadvantage in the game. So, for Nashville to win, they need to start early to get the rust off.

With Hal Gill returning to the lineup after his foot injury, that adds more depth at defense. Ryan Ellis will be out as Gill returns. Since Kevin Klein has been playing so well in the playoffs, Trotz is going to reward him with moving up to the second line with Roman Josi. Gill will be with Francis Bouillon. I like this, I like this a lot.

Pekka Rinne is going to have to play outstanding in Game 1. Rinne can put some doubt in the Coyotes’ mind on if they are going to score on him or not. I have to think Mike Smith is doing the same thing as well. Rinne vs Smith should be very fun in Game 1. Friday night will show how this series will go, goaltender wise.