The Nashville Predators (5-8-0) will kick off a five-game homestand with a matchup against the Arizona Coyotes (6-6-1) on Saturday Night in SMASHVILLE at Bridgestone Arena.
Ryan O’Reilly played in his 1,000th career NHL game on Oct. 31 at Vancouver, and the Predators will celebrate the milestone in a short pregame ceremony on Saturday vs. Arizona. The 32-year-old center, who made his NHL debut on Oct. 1, 2009, played his previous 999
career games with Colorado (427), St. Louis (327), Buffalo (224), Toronto (13) and Nashville (8). He became the second player from his 2009 NHL Draft class to skate in 1,000 career NHL games; Toronto’s John Tavares was the first. Throughout his decorated 15-season NHL career, O’Reilly has won the Stanley Cup (2019), Conn Smythe (2019), Selke Trophy (2019) and Lady Byng Trophy (2014).
Puck drop is at 7 pm CT, and the game will be broadcast on Bally Sports South, 102.5 The Game and El Jefe Radio. Here’s everything you need to know:
LINE ‘EM UP
Below are Nashville’s lines from Thursday’s game at Winnipeg:
Forsberg – O’Reilly – Nyquist
Sherwood – Novak – Evangelista
Trenin – Sissons – Smith
Foudy – McCarron – Tomasino
Josi – Fabbro
Lauzon – Carrier
Del Gaizo – Barrie
Scratches: Fagemo, Pärssinen, McDonagh
IR: Schenn, Glass
LAST TIME OUT
Nashville moved to 2-6-0 on the road in 2023-24 with Thursday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets, which saw the Predators conclude their five-game road trip with a 1-4-0 record. The teams combined for 48 penalty minutes (NSH 28, WPG 20).
Filip Forsberg recorded his first multi-goal game of the season (2g) and led all skaters with 12 shot attempts. Philip Tomasino scored his first goal of 2023-24, and Tyson Barrie had two assists for his first multi-point outing of the campaign. Marc Del Gaizo picked up an assist to extend his point streak to three games (3a).
The Predators are 42-32-(2)-6 all-time against the Coyotes, including a 26-12-(2)-1 record at Bridgestone Arena. This is the first of four matchups between Nashville and Arizona in 2023-24 and the first of two at home.
Nashville went 2-2-0 against Arizona last season, with both teams picking up one of their victories on the road. In Nashville’s most recent win vs. Arizona, Roman Josi (2g-1a) and Tommy Novak (1g-2a) both had three points in a 6-2 result on Feb. 26 at Mullett Arena.
NOTABLES VS. ARIZONA
- Josi has 18 points (9g-9a) in his last 10 games vs. the Coyotes, including six multi-point efforts. He posted a seven-game point streak against Arizona from Dec. 23, 2019-Feb. 26, 2023 (8g-7a).
- Novak recorded his third career three-point game on Feb. 26, 2023 at Arizona (1g-2a).
- O’Reilly has 35 points (13g-22a) in 44 career games against the Coyotes.
- Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram was claimed on waivers from Nashville on Oct. 10, 2022. He made his first three career NHL starts with the Predators and started three of Nashville’s four postseason games in 2022.
- Arizona goaltender Karel Vejmelka was selected by the Predators in the fifth round (145th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
- Coyotes forward Michael Carcone spent the 2020-21 season in the Predators organization. With Milwaukee, Nashville’s AHL affiliate, not taking part in the 2020-21 AHL season due to COVID-19, Carcone was loaned to the Tucson Roadrunners, where he had 25 points (15g-10a) in 35 appearances.
THE GOOD GUYS
Filthy Forsberg: Forsberg leads Nashville in points with 14 (4g-10a) after scoring twice on Thursday at Winnipeg and posting a three-point performance on Nov. 4 against the Oilers (1g-2a). It was the fastest he reached the 10-assist mark to begin a season in his NHL career (11 GP). Forsberg is also tied for sixth among all NHL skaters in shot attempts (103) and tied for 13th in shots on goal (49).
Tommy Hockey: Novak has points in six of his last eight games (4g-4a). He notched his second multi-point game of the season on Nov. 4 at Edmonton (1g-1a). With an assist on Tuesday at Calgary, he reached 60 career NHL points in his 90th game; among players to debut with Nashville, only Forsberg reached the 60-point mark faster (89 GP).
Out for Vange-ance: Luke Evangelista has eight points (1g-7a) in his last nine games, including two multi-point efforts. He’s tied for second among NHL rookies in points with eight (1g-7a).
Captain Clutch: Josi has points in seven of his last 10 games (2g-6a), including a four-game point streak from Oct. 28-Nov. 4 (2g-3a). He scored his first goal of the season, the OT winner, on Oct. 28 vs. Toronto, and added his first power-play goal of the campaign on Nov. 2 at Seattle. Per NHL EDGE, Josi has skated the eighth-longest total distance among NHL defensemen this season (47.3 miles).
Factor 1,000: O’Reilly recorded his fifth career NHL hat trick on Nov. 4 at Edmonton in a four-point effort (3g-1a). He now has seven points (5g-2a) in his last six games. His seven goals from the high-danger zone are tied for the third-most in the NHL per NHL EDGE.
New Guy-zo: Del Gaizo, who made his NHL debut with the Preds last Saturday at Edmonton, became the third Predators player to begin his NHL career with a three-game point streak (3a). He joined Marek Zidlicky (2g-5a in 6 GP) in 2003-04 and Calle Jarnkrok (1g-4a in 5 GP) in 2013-14.
Juiced Up: Per NHL EDGE, Juuse Saros shares the NHL lead in saves from the mid-range area (95). He’s tied for the lead in games played (11) and starts (11) among NHL goaltenders.
Big Blocker: Alexandre Carrier is third among NHL players in blocked shots (43).
Smitty’s Hits: Cole Smith is tied for ninth in the NHL in hits (36).
On the Attack: Through 13 games, the Predators are ninth in the NHL in expected goal percentage (5-on-5) at 53.5 percent and expected goal differential (3.38) per MoneyPuck.com. Nashville is also tied for seventh in high-danger shots for (28).
Powerplay: The Predators are tied for 10th in the NHL in power-play goals with 11. Nashville has scored multiple power-play goals in the same game four times this season; the Predators did so nine times in 2022-23.
THE OTHER GUYS
The Coyotes are in fifth place in the Central Division and are 2-2-0 against division opponents this season. Most recently, Lawson Crouse scored his fifth goal in six games and Vejmelka made 31 saves in Arizona’s 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
Nick Schmaltz leads the Coyotes with 13 points (4g-9a), and his nine assists are also a team high. Crouse is tied with Clayton Keller for the team lead in goals with five. Logan Cooley is tied with Evangelista and two others for second among all NHL rookies in points with eight (1g-7a).
WATCH & LISTEN
Coverage for Saturday’s game begins at 6:30 pm CT with the Predators LIVE! pregame show on Bally Sports South, hosted by Lyndsay Rowley alongside analyst Hal Gill. Play-by-play announcer Willy Daunic, analyst Chris Mason and rinkside reporter Kara Hammer will have the call on the television side.
Pete Weber and Jay More will call the game on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network, with pregame, postgame and intermission coverage by Max Herz beginning one hour before puck drop. The game will also be broadcast in Spanish on El Jefe which airs on 96.7 FM, 105.3 FM and 810 AM.
(El partido también se transmite en español por El Jefe en 96.7 FM, 105.3 FM y 810 AM.)