Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Preds open home portion of season against Phoenix

The Nashville Predators(2-0-0) will play their first regular season home game of the 2011-2012 season on Thursday night when they take on the Phoenix Coyotes(0-1-1).

Phoenix opened the season with a 6-3 loss in San Jose, and a 2-1 shootout loss in Dallas. They will be looking for their first win of the season, and will play a desperate style of hockey against the Predators.

Ilya Bryzgalov was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers, so Mike Smith was brought in to handle the goaltending responsibilities for the Desert Dogs.

Nashville comes into the game having won both of their first two contests on the road. They will be looking to move to 3-0-0 on the year, and to collect points that could prove to be very valuable at the end of the year.

My player to watch for the Coyotes is Shane Doan. As is usually the case for Phoenix, Doan has been their best player so far this season. He has two goals and one assist in the first two games, and is tied with Keith Yandle for the team lead in shots with 11. Doan is the heart and soul of this Phoenix team, and his play largely dictates the play of the entire team.

For Nashville, my player to watch is rookie phenom Craig Smith. He has two goals and two assists in his first two NHL games. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the atmosphere of opening night in Smashville.

The festivities begin at 4:00 p.m when the players, coaches and broadcasters will walk the gold carpet with select season ticket holders. After that, there will be a plaza party leading up to the game. The puck will drop at approximately 7:08 p.m.

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