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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, October 31st (All times Eastern)

Nashville Predators (6-5-1) at Phoenix Coyotes (8-3-2), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Phoenix Coyotes will try to end October on a positive note when they welcome the Nashville Predators for Thursday's battle at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes have posted a solid 8-3-2 record in the first month of the season and can cap October on a three-game winning streak with a home win tonight.

Phoenix has won two straight and four of its last five contests and only has suffered one regulation setback over its past 10 games (7-1-2). The lone regulation loss during that run came in a 7-4 road loss to Los Angeles last Thursday, but the Coyotes exacted revenge for that lopsided defeat in their most recent trip to the ice.

Kyle Chipchura finished with one goal and one assist and Mike Smith made 41 saves in the Coyotes' 3-1 win over the visiting Kings on Tuesday. Shane Doan and Derek Morris also had a goal for the Coyotes, who improved their home record to 5-0-1.

"When you get shellacked like we did earlier this season in LA, it was nice to play them again so soon to get it back," Smith said. "To respond the way we did was good to see. Our first period was exceptional and then they came at us pretty hard. But we held our own pretty well."

Thursday's tilt marks the end of a three-game homestand for the Coyotes, who will open November by playing four of six on the road.

The Coyotes have played two straight without defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) and centerman Jeff Halpern sat out Tuesday's test with an upper- body injury. Both players are doubtful for tonight.

The Predators were slammed 6-1 by the visiting St. Louis Blues on Saturday and haven't played since, giving Barry Trotz's club four full days off to get over the blowout loss.

Nashville fell behind 1-0 just 5:27 into Saturday's game against the Blues and trailed 3-0 by the end of the second period. Carter Hutton was tagged for five goals on 26 shots before being pulled in the third. Magnus Hellberg allowed a goal on four shots in relief for the Predators, who had won three of four games heading into Saturday's showdown with the Blues.

Nick Spaling scored the lone Nashville goal and Mattias Ekholm added an assist.

"Obviously we didn't get the job done tonight," Spaling said. "There were just a couple breakdowns we have to fix."

After getting pounded at home on Saturday, the Preds will open a seven-game road trip tonight. It's the longest swing of the season for Nashville, which won't play its next game in Music City until Nov. 16 against Chicago.

Defenseman Roman Josi is expected to return to the lineup for the start of the trip. He has been out since suffering a concussion on Oct. 4 versus Colorado and was cleared for contact on Monday. Josi is expected to be eased back into the defensive rotation after having been paired with Shea Weber before the injury.

Phoenix is 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings against the Predators and Nashville has dropped four of its last seven in the desert.

10/31 10:28:03 ET

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