Coyotes host Preds in clash between struggling teams

Published January 28, 2013

| Sports Network

A pair of struggling clubs will battle in the desert on Monday, as the Phoenix Coyotes welcome the Nashville Predators to Jobing.com Arena.

Each team has one win in five games this season although Nashville is better off in the Western Conference standings thanks to three overtime losses. The Coyotes are 1-4-0 and currently sitting in the conference basement.

The Predators earned a point in their most recent loss, dropping a 3-2 shootout decision in Anaheim. Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth, who was making his NHL debut, stopped David Legwand in the final portion of the shootout to help seal the win for Anaheim.

Legwand and Brandon Yip scored in regulation for the Predators, who also got 20 saves from Pekka Rinne. Nashville has played in three shootouts thus far and has lost every one.

"We had a good start, we got the lead, but they responded well," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "You need some luck. We just haven't scored enough goals."

The Predators are 1-1-1 on a seven-game road trip and will close the swing with stops in Los Angeles, San Jose and St. Louis.

The Coyotes have lost two straight since beating Columbus for its only win of the season. Phoenix opened a three-game homestand on a sour note, dropping Saturday's 4-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings, who received two goals from Anze Kopitar.

Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker each had a goal for the Coyotes, while Jason LaBarbera gave up four goals on 31 shots in the loss.

"We've felt like we control these games for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, but we have to find ways to play a full 60 minutes," said Doan. "It's frustrating, I'm frustrated, nobody likes the way things are going right now.

The Coyotes have been without No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith since he left the first period of Wednesday's win over Columbus with a lower body injury. Chad Johnson has served as the backup to LaBarbera in Smith's absence.

Smith, who had a career year with Phoenix in 2011-12, is questionable for Monday's game. Smith was able to skate on Sunday and is considered day-to-day.

The Coyotes are playing the middle portion of a three-game homestand and will close the residency Wednesday night against Edmonton.

Phoenix and the Predators have split eight meetings over the previous two seasons, but Nashville has claimed seven of the last 12 encounters. Each club has four wins over the last eight meetings in Arizona.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/01/28/coyotes-host-preds-in-clash-between-struggling-teams/