Final SO

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Arizona leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, January 21st
Game 2: Tuesday, February 2nd
Game 3: Thursday, March 25th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 7th

Coyotes 3

(46-23-6, 98 pts)

Predators 4

(43-27-5, 91 pts)

8:00 PM ET, March 25, 2010

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 SO T
ARI 1 0 2 03
NSH 1 2 0 14

P. Hornqvist (Predators - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

K. Yandle (Coyotes - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

D. Legwand (Predators - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Coyotes-Predators Preview


The Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators knew their winning streaks had to end eventually, but this would be a bad time to completely lose their momentum.

In a matchup of what had been two of the league's hottest teams, the Coyotes and Predators each look to avoid a second straight loss Thursday night.

Phoenix (46-23-5) had a nine-game run end Tuesday night, losing 2-0 to Western Conference-leading Chicago. The Coyotes fell two points behind the Blackhawks and one behind San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division.

"Teams like Chicago and San Jose, a month ago they were out of reach for us, so we know that we've played some good hockey," defenseman Adrian Aucoin said.

After matching the longest winning streak in franchise history, the Coyotes can't afford to fall into a rut if they hope to improve their playoff position. Phoenix, in line to make the postseason for the first time in eight years, has eight games remaining.

"I'm sure there's some disappointment," coach Dave Tippett said. "We've been on a good run and we've got some bounces our way."

The Coyotes couldn't produce offensively after a streak that included a 5-4 shootout win over Chicago on Saturday night. Phoenix has five losses in its last 22 games, getting shut out in three of the defeats.

Lee Stempniak scored nine goals in eight games for the Coyotes after being acquired from Toronto on March 3, but he has been held off the scoresheet in his last two.

Captain Shane Doan continues to struggle, failing to score a goal in 18 straight contests. Doan, who has a team-high 52 points (17 goals, 35 assists), has been held off the scoresheet in three straight on the road.

Now Doan will likely have to contend with Pekka Rinne, the NHL's first star of the week. Rinne was outstanding in starting every game during Nashville's six-game winning streak, but he was only able to come up with 11 saves as the run came to an end with a 3-1 loss to Dallas on Tuesday night.

Nashville is in a logjam of five teams contending for the West's final four playoff spots. The Predators, trying to return to the postseason after missing out in 2008-09, have eight games remaining.

"You have to have a short-term memory, and the biggest game of the year is coming up now," said coach Barry Trotz, who led Nashville to the third-longest winning streak in its history.

Trotz desperately needs Rinne to bounce back after he posted a 1.15 goals-against average with three shutouts during the run.

Rinne is 3-0-1 with a 0.49 GAA and two shutouts in four games against the Coyotes. Phoenix is 2-0-0 versus Nashville this season, beating Rinne 1-0 in a shootout on the road Feb. 2 in the last matchup.

Rinne could use some help from the offense. Nashville is 0 for 11 on the power play over its last three games and has been held to one goal in each of its last two at home.

Jason Arnott's absence hasn't helped. The Predators' captain, who has 18 goals and 26 assists, may miss a third straight game due to an upper-body injury.