The Coyotes took to the skies on Tuesday, heading to Nashville, Tenn., to continue their series with the Predators.
Games 3 and 4 will take place on Wednesday and Friday in downtown Nashville, at Bridgestone Arena, a place where the Coyotes have had great success at this season. They won there twice during the regular season, and will look to continue that trend in the postseason.
The Predators got some bad news on Tuesday. Two of their top forwards – Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov – were suspended for Game 3, due to an unspecified violation of team rules.
Those are two huge voids that the Coyotes must take advantage of. Radulov leads the Predators in playoff scoring with six points, while Kostitsyn is tied for second with four points.
Center Antoine Vermette has been on fire so far in the playoffs, with five goals and three assists in eight games.
Vermette knows that until they knock this Predators team out, they haven’t accomplished a thing.
“It’s going to have to start over,” Vermette said. “We know they’re going to play desperate hockey, and the focus is going to have to be on us.”
Head coach Dave Tippett knows the Predators problems are theirs alone, and not the Coyotes. He says this is a business trip and the team has to stay focused on what they have to do to win the series.
“We’ll look at all the adjustments we have to make in Game 3 that hopefully continue to improve our game,” Tippett said.
Goalie Mike Smith says it’s just as much a mental approach to the games as it is a physical approach, especially when you go on the road.
“The arena’s the same size, whether you play on the road or at home,” Smith said. “Just try and stick to our gameplan and just grind it out.”
Grind it out is just how the Coyotes like to play their games and win them, so they should be in prime shape for Wednesday night’s game in Nashville, as they’ve seen that movie many times over, and know exactly how it ends.