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#1 April 4, 2018 07:55

andrus9 Offline
Registered: April 4, 2018
Posts: 6

Predators look for points against surging Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz.  The Arizona Coyotes are barreling toward April with the kind of momentum any NHL playoff team would enjoy having. The only problem The Coyotes terrible start to the season doomed any postseason possibilities.But their new-found success could indeed be a problem for the Nashville Predators, who are very much playoff-bound and competing to win the Presidents Trophy as the league best team during the regular season.The Coyotes  will have coach Rick Tocchet back Thursday night at Gila River Arena against the Western Conference-leading Predators  for the third and final time this season … _Jersey-22. Tocchet missed Arizona 4-3 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday to be with his mother, who is fighting cancer.Article continues below ...Arizona could also get back starting goaltender Antti Raanta, who has been out since March 3 with a lower-body injury but went through a full practice Wednesday. Backup goalie Darcy Kuemper was out, too, Tuesday with a game-day illness. That left rookie Adin Hill, who came up from Tucson of the American Hockey League, to make 34 saves in his first NHL victory.Raanta, Kuemper or Hill  it doesnt seem to matter much who the Coyotes insert in goal these days … _Jersey-33. The team that began the season 0-10-1 is 11-3-2 in its last 16 games. During the last month, only the Predators  have more points than the Coyotes  among Western Conference teams.The Predators are hotter than anyone, winning 11 of their last 12, with the only loss in a shootout. Nashville could overtake Tampa Bay  for the NHL lead by winning Thursday. The Lightning dont play again until Saturday against the Boston Bruins.I feel like as a team and me, too, personally, I think it  is a goal that we can say out loud, said Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who leads the league in save percentage  and goals-against  among goalies with at least 40 games played Kevin Fiala Jersey. It something we havent done before here. That would mean a lot to us all.  There not too many banners , and that would be great.The Predators missed a chance to gain a banner last season when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in the Stanley Cup finals, when Tocchet was on Pittsburgh bench as an assistant coach.Nashville also won Tuesday, beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 as Rinne made 32 saves and Austin Watson and Viktor Arvidsson scored 34 seconds apart short-handed in the first period.We marked it as a game that had to go our way as we sit here and  battle for what we need to do in order to better ourselves for the , Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. Obviously, the division, the conference, those are things we talk about, so the two points were very important.Two points wouldnt mean that much for the Coyotes except to give them further momentum as they try to made up for a terrible first half of the season with a respectable second half. Theyve already shown the Predators they can be a dangerous team, beating them 3-2 in Nashville on Jan. 4 before losing 3-2 in a shootout on Jan. 18 at Gila River Arena.Im just happy with how the guys are showing up to the rink, Coyotes assistant coach John MacLean said. When you win, everyone feels good and your energy is better. I think we see that during our little run were on now.Clayton Keller, Arizona 19-year-old center, scored his 19th goal of the season against the Kings and now has 50 points, putting him within five points of breaking Peter Mueller franchise rookie record with 54 points.You try to go out there and produce every night, Keller said. I try to do everything I can to help the team win.And wins, so few and far between for the Coyotes in October, November and December, are beginning to come in abundance for them in February and March.

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