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Mar 28, 2024 1:29 am

Predators look to extend point streak vs. Coyotes

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Riding the best regular-season spell in their history, the Nashville Predators will look to continue climbing the Western Conference and Central Division standings on Thursday when they face the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe, Ariz.

On Tuesday, the Predators (43-25-4, 90 points) extended their point streak to 18 games, storming back from a 4-1, third-period deficit to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 in overtime. Roman Josi netted the winning goal 40 seconds into the extra frame as Nashville extended its run to 16-0-2.

The Predators’ top line led the way on Tuesday, with Filip Forsberg and Ryan O’Reilly each recording a goal and two assists and linemate Gustav Nyquist adding a goal and an assist. Mark Jankowski also had a goal and an assist, aiding the rally that was buoyed by Jusse Saros’ 31 saves.

“It’s so fun playing with those two, my Swedish meatballs,” O’Reilly said of his linemates. “They’re quite exciting out there. They’re so smart the way they handle the puck and I think working together is so much fun. With the plays we’re making, we’re making a difference whenever we can, and it’s exciting.”

Nashville continued its rapid rise, vaulting four points clear of Vegas for the top spot in the Western Conference wild-card race with 10 games remaining for both teams.

The Predators, who have not lost in regulation since Feb. 15, have been dominant during their run. The Vegas game marked just the third time in the streak that Nashville conceded the first goal.

The dominant spell has Nashville in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. The Predators enter play Thursday four points behind the third-place Winnipeg Jets in the Central.

Coming up against Arizona (30-37-5, 65 points), the Predators will glance at the other side of the Western Conference standings and hope to keep points from slipping against a Coyotes team already eliminated from playoff contention.

Still, the Coyotes are riding some decent form, and they got a morale boost on Tuesday in a 6-2 home victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Headlining the win was a two-goal rookie debut from Josh Doan, son of franchise legend Shane Doan.

“It’s something special to receive your NHL goal puck from your dad and to share a moment with him and everything that he’s done for me to help guide me through this game and the ins and outs of the battles off the ice that comes with the game,” Josh Doan said. “To have him give me that first puck is something I’m never going to forget.”

With critical points on the line, the Predators will need to shut down Arizona’s Clayton Keller, who has eight goals and three assists over his past 10 games. Meanwhile, the Predators will hope to regain their stingy defense, which produced back-to-back shutouts prior to the win over Vegas.

In three head-to-head matchups this season, the Coyotes have two wins: a 7-5 road win on Nov. 11, and a 3-2 home victory on Jan. 20. The Predators took the latest matchup 5-4 in overtime at home on Feb. 10. Nashville lost its next two games before starting the current point streak.

–Field Level Media

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