Predators vs. Coyotes Odds, Preview, Prediction: Expect Defenses to Shine in NHL Showdown (Jan. 8)

Predators vs. Coyotes Odds, Preview, Prediction: Expect Defenses to Shine in NHL Showdown (Jan. 8) article feature image

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros.

  • Nashville heads to Arizona on Saturday night to round out its three-game road trip.
  • The Predators have won eight of 10 games are hefty -245 favorites over the Coyotes.
  • Jacob McKenna breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Predators vs. Coyotes Odds

Predators Odds-245
Coyotes Odds+205
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Nashville Predators will end a three-game road trip Saturday when they face off against the Arizona Coyotes.

Nashville has been on a roll recently, winning eight of its last 10 games and is a perfect 3-0 since the calendar changed to 2022. Meanwhile, Arizona still finds itself at the bottom of the league, having only won seven games and earned just 17 total points.

Despite its horrendous season, Arizona found a way to put pucks in the back of the net at the end of 2021 and some of that momentum has continued into the new year. Will that once again be the case here or will Nashville assert its dominance, proving why it's one of the NHL's best teams?

Nashville Predators

The Predators come into this matchup with a total of 22 wins and 46 points, both of which have them positioned in first place in the Central Division.

They've gotten to this point in large part due to their stellar defensive play. In 5-on-5 situations, Nashville ranks fifth in Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) with 2.21 so far. And on top of that, the Predators are surrendering just 9.04 High Danger Chances per 60 minutes, which is the second least amount in the league.

Nashville's high level of play on that end of the ice has put many of its opponents in a tough spot, which is why the team has surrendered two goals or less in five of its last seven games.

Scoring the puck has not been much of an issue for the Predators early on in 2022, but for the majority of the season this has been an average attack. Nashville scores an average of 3.03 goals per game, but as a team has a 2.33 Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF/60), which ranks 14th in the NHL. Furthermore, the Predators haven't generated many scoring opportunities in close, ranking in the bottom ten in High Danger Chances per 60 minutes.

Juuse Saros has been a great anchor for this team, though, and he will likely be who see as starting in goal. In 5-on-5, Saros has an SV% of .936 and ranks seventh in the NHL in Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) with 9.9 overall.

Arizona Coyotes

The beginning of the season was miserable for Arizona and its fans, but so far the new year has brought some mixed results.

The Coyotes started off the year with a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg, a game in which they were outshot by a 49-27 margin. Luckily, they immediately followed that loss with a 6-4 win against Chicago, which turned out to be one of their best performances of the season.

However, I think it's more likely we see Arizona continue to struggle and we will see the same team that we saw against the Jets a few nights ago.

It's tough for a team to remain competitive in the NHL when it can't score the puck, and that is a huge reason why the Coyotes have just seven wins. This team averages just 2.19 goals per game and has an xGF/60 of 2.01 in 5-on-5, both of which rank 31st in the NHL.

Furthermore, Arizona has scored a total of 52 goals in 5-on-5 in 32 games, another area in which they rank in the bottom 10 of the league.

Defensively, Arizona has been better when compared to its offensive output, but oftentimes its defense has put its goalies in bad spots, subsequently leading to many goals. As a team, the Coyotes are surrendering 33.5 shots on goal per game, which almost guarantees that pucks are going to get through.

No starter has been named, which means either Scott Wedgewood or Karel Vejmelka could get the start. In 5-on-5, Wedgewood has an SV % of .907 and -7.7 GSAx, while Vejmelka has an SV % of .919 and -3.5 GSAx this season.

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Predators vs. Coyotes Pick

The only thing that really plays into Arizona's favor is that it's on home ice, while Nashville is on the last leg of a three-game road trip. However, the Coyotes have only won three total games at home , so it's not likely that will have much of an impact.

The Predators have played excellent hockey during their road trip, outscoring their opponents, 7-4, and dominating both ends of rink. They should have no problems doing that once again in this matchup.

The Predators will find ways to score, but between Nashville's stellar defense and goaltending I think Arizona will continue to struggle. I expect this to be a low-scoring affair and a game in which Nashville wins, but I think playing the under is the best wager.

Pick: Total Under 6 Goals (-110)

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