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Reply To: NHL • Saturday Service Plays • 1/9/16

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Preview: Nashville at Arizona

When: 9:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 9, 2016
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona

Ryan Johansen needed only 2 minutes, 35 seconds to score his first goal in a Nashville sweater but hopes his next one leads to a better result as the Predators try for their seventh straight victory over Arizona when they visit the Coyotes on Saturday. Nashville fell to Colorado 5-3 on Friday – dropping the Predators into a tie with the Avalanche for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference – in the opener of its four-game road trip.

“It’s definitely nice to get something early like that,” Johansen, who was acquired in a trade with Columbus for defenseman Seth Jones on Wednesday, told reporters after Friday’s loss. “Hopefully, I can use that as some confidence and move forward in shooting the puck. It’s too bad we couldn’t find a way to win this one. It would have been a lot cooler.” Arizona has won as many as it has lost through 40 games and has a firm grip on second place in the Pacific Division, 10 points behind runaway leader Los Angeles. A big reason has been the play of goaltender Louis Domingue, who is 5-0-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in seven starts since being called up from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Nov. 23. “What Louis has done is as big of a surprise as we’ve had around here in years,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney told the team’s website.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), FSN Arizona

ABOUT THE PREDATORS (19-15-7): Johansen, who centered a line with right wing James Neal (team-best 15 goals) and Colin Wilson, scored his first goal since Nov. 28 – a span of 15 games – as a change of scenery provided a spark. Johansen, who has seven goals in 2015-16 after scoring 59 in the previous two campaigns, has 96 assists in the last two-plus seasons after recording one Friday and could be the playmaker that Neal needs to approach his career-high 40-goal effort in 2011-12. Filip Forsberg scored Friday for his fourth goal in the last seven games and tallied twice in Nashville’s 5-2 victory over Arizona on Dec. 1.

ABOUT THE COYOTES (20-16-4): At age 39, captain Shane Doan has discovered the Fountain of Youth in his 20th NHL season, scoring seven of his 15 goals in the last five games to put him on pace for a career-high 35, which would give him 403 for his career. Anthony Duclair (11 goals) and Max Domi (10) – a pair of 20-year-olds – are fourth and tied for fifth in goals, respectively, among NHL rookies. Mikkel Boedker has team bests of 31 points and 19 assists but is a club-worst minus-15.

OVERTIME

1. Arizona has allowed one power-play goal in each of its last three games while Nashville is 1-for-15 with the man advantage over its last five contests.

2. The Predators have been outscored 20-7 in going 0-4-1 in the second contest of back-to-back games this season.

3. Nashville is 1-3-1 in its last five games and 1-4-1 over its last six road contests.

PREDICTION: Coyotes 3, Predators 2