Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nashville set to face Phoenix without Tootoo

The Nashville Predators will square off with the Phoenix Coyotes for the third time this season tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators will be without the services of Jordin Tootoo after he was suspended by the league today for the next two games.

The two prior meetings between these two teams were totally different in every way. In the first game, Phoenix came into Nashville and beat the Predators by a 5-2 score. On November 3, Nashville went into Phoenix and beat the Coyotes by a 3-0 score.

"They have a very similar team to ours. They play strong defensively. They've got good goaltending, and they don't beat themselves. We always have fairly low-scoring games for the most part, and it's always a defensive battle," said Nashville Predators defenseman Kevin Klein.

Phoenix played last night against the Chicago Blackhawks and got a 4-3 shootout win. The Coyotes sit in seventh place in the Western Conference going into this game, while the Predators are in 11th.

"They usually play a solid game and don't hurt themselves at all. They limit their turnovers and get pucks to the net. They go to the net because they know that's what they have to do. We've got to make sure we stay out of the box and take care of the puck on the bluelines," said Nashville rookie forward Craig Smith.

My player to watch for the Coyotes is Radim Vrbata. He is tied with Ray Whitney for the team lead in points with 23, and has really been playing well for the Coyotes this season.

For Nashville, my player to watch is Jonathon Blum. Blum has struggled so far this year defensively, and his defensive play will be key for the Predators in this matchup.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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