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Nov 10, 2023 8:02 pm

Predators home to face Coyotes, out for change of fortune

The Nashville Predators open a five-game homestand Saturday looking to avoid a third straight loss when they host the Arizona Coyotes in a battle between Central Division rivals.

Nashville concluded a five-game road trip Thursday with a 6-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. The Predators picked up just one win during their travels, earning a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers last Saturday.

Predators left winger Filip Forsberg scored twice in the loss to the Jets and has nine points over his last six games.

“When he’s on the puck like that, and he’s around it, he’s really dangerous,” Predators head coach Andrew Brunette said of Forsberg. “Obviously, he’s got the skill, but what I really appreciated and was proud of him for was he was on the puck. Earlier in the season, he maybe wasn’t as much, and it seems like every game he’s getting better.”

Forsberg leads the Predators with 10 assists and 14 points through 13 games. Center Ryan O’Reilly has a team-leading seven goals.

“We definitely would have liked to have a better road trip,” Forsberg said. “We did a lot of good things, but at the end of the day, we only got two points to take back with us. So, we’ve got to turn that around coming home.”

Predators’ rookie defenseman Marc Del Gaizo has three assists in his first three NHL games after debuting last weekend at Edmonton.

Juuse Saros is 4-7-0 this season with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.

Arizona is coming off a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues Thursday, trying to avoid back-to-back losses since dropping a pair to the Los Angeles Kings late last month.

“I think if there’s something, we didn’t go with enough shot volume in my opinion,” said Arizona coach Andre Tourigny. “I would have loved to get a little bit more dirty-job pucks on net and get inside. We’re trying to score the clean goal. When you trail, often those clean goals are not there.”

Right winger Nick Schmaltz leads all Coyotes with 13 points in 13 games this season. Forward Lawson Crouse has five goals and six points in his last five games. Crouse and left winger Clayton Keller are tied for the team lead with five goals this season.

Center Logan Cooley is among NHL rookie leaders with eight points in his first 13 games.

Goaltender Karel Vejmelka is 2-5-1 this season with a 2.97 GAA and a .908 save percentage.

Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott, injured in the 4-3 shootout victory over the Seattle Kraken Wednesday, is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

The Coyotes are in the middle of a five-game road trip, which will take them to Dallas and Columbus before wrapping up at Winnipeg on Nov. 18.

Saturday is the first of four meetings between the Coyotes and Predators. The two teams split the four games last season.

–Field Level Media

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