The Nashville Predators ended their five-game road trip on a sour note, losing to the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. It was an eventful day for the Predators, as two crucial offensive tools were sidelined, but the return of Dan Hamhuis, Calle Jarnkrok and Austin Watson brought some much-needed comfort.

Nashville Key Stats

Goals

Nick Bonino

Assists

Austin Watson, Roman Josi

Arizona Key Stats

Goals

Michael Grabner, Jason Demers

Assists

Kevin Connauton, Christian Fischer, Oliver Ekman-Larrson

What Happened

Grabner swiped his fifth goal of the year. Shorthanded for the second time in the first period, he took a loose rebound to Nashville’s blue line. Rinne was screened by Josi, and the puck went through his five-hole. Nashville outshot Arizona 16-5, but the Coyotes had the lead.

The Coyotes expanded their lead in the second period. Receiving a pass from Ekman-Larsson, Fischer carried the puck to the faceoff circle. He dropped it off to Demers, who beat a screened Rinne blocker side. Sissons very nearly pulled the puck within one on a broken play in front of the net, but Kuemper somehow deferred it away. In spite of another goal allowed, Nashville still outshot Arizona 17-12 in the second period.

Low and behold, Bonino finally scored his first goal. Nearing the end of the third period, he battled three Arizona defenders, and somehow found the back of the net. However, it was too little, too late. Nashville dropped their third game in a row and their final game on a long road trip.

Looking Forward

The Predators haven’t scored on the power play in three games.

P.K. Subban and Viktor Arvidsson have been placed on the IR- Subban with an undisclosed upper-body injury, and Arvidsson with a broken thumb. Subban will have to miss the next three games, while Arvidsson will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.

Calle Jarnkrok and Dan Hamhuis have been activated from the IR. Austin Watson has also been reinstated and should provide some solidarity on the third line. Watson tallied the primary assist on the lone goal for the Predators.

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Roman Josi has been on fire as of late. He leads the team in total shots, leads the defensemen in goals, second to Mattias Ekholm in +/-, tied with Subban in defensemen points, has been penalized only twice this year, and has two game-winning goals already. In his last five games, he has notched 5 points, put the puck on the net 24 times, and received only one penalty. The Predators need him to continue his strong play.

This is the first losing streak for the Predators- up until their Anaheim blunder, they always responded a loss with a win. Early adversity has tested the Predators, but their next game will be the true test. They need to beat a sputtering Los Angeles Kings and get back to their winning ways.

Also, it’s quite poetic that the league’s best road team drops three in a row after winning their first eight. Being back in Nashville should flood the Predators with relief.

Cover Photo Credits: Alex Daughtrey

-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators

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