Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 13th
Coyotes5Final
Predators2
Game 2: Thursday, November 3rd
Predators3Final
Coyotes0
Game 3: Tuesday, December 6th
Coyotes3Final
Predators2
Game 4: Monday, March 12th
Predators5Final
SO
Coyotes4

Coyotes 5

(1-1-1, 3 pts)

Predators 2

(2-1-0, 4 pts)

8:00 PM ET, October 13, 2011

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 T
ARI 3 1 15
NSH 0 1 12

D. Schlemko (Coyotes - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

L. Korpikoski (Coyotes - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Legwand (Predators - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Coyotes-Predators Preview

STATS LLC

Pekka Rinne has led the way in the Nashville Predators' first two games, and he's been spectacular in his career against the Phoenix Coyotes.

He's expected to start in goal Thursday night as the Predators try for a second straight 3-0-0 start in their home opener.

Rinne went 33-22-9 with a 2.12 goals-against average in 2010-11, including a 10-2-1 mark with a 2.14 GAA in his last 13 home starts.

The Vezina Trophy finalist has stopped 63 of 67 shots in winning his first two outings this season -- road games against Columbus and St. Louis in which the Predators were outshot both times.

"Two divisions opponents, too, going into their barn and winning," center David Legwand said.

Rinne's 1.78 GAA against Phoenix (0-1-1) is his lowest against a Western Conference opponent. He's 6-3-1 against the Coyotes in 10 starts -- 4-1-1 with a 1.30 GAA in six at home.

Expectations have been raised for Nashville, which won a playoff series for the first time last season before losing in six games in the second round to West champion Vancouver. The Predators are looking to win their fifth straight home opener.

Legwand had two goals and two assists in a 4-2 victory over the Blues on Saturday. One goal and both assists came on the power play, on which Nashville has gone 3 for 7 this season.

Martin Erat missed Saturday's contest after suffering an upper-body injury the night before in a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets. It's unclear if Erat, who tied for the team lead with 50 points last season, will return Thursday.

Phoenix is completing a season-opening three-game road stretch. The Coyotes are hoping to avoid the franchise's first winless three-game start since 1988-89, when the team was based in Winnipeg.

The Coyotes will be participating in a home opener for the third time in as many games.

"Well you're going into Nashville, and we knew this was going to be a hard trip," coach Dave Tippett said.

Phoenix fell 6-3 at San Jose on Saturday before turning in a better effort in a 2-1 shootout loss to Dallas on Monday. The Coyotes were 28 seconds from victory when the Stars' Loui Eriksson scored the tying goal in the third period.

"We played a much better game, that's probably a game we deserved a better fate," Tippett said. "If we play like that, we'll get our amount of wins. I thought our guys really competed hard, they did a lot of little things very well tonight. It's too bad we didn't get the two points."

Mike Smith, signed as a free agent from Tampa Bay, has started Phoenix's first two games. He is 3-1-0 with a 2.00 GAA in four career starts against the Predators.

All four goals for the Coyotes have come on the power play in seven chances. Nashville has yielded one power-play goal in 10 opportunities.

These teams split four meetings last season.

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