The Nashville Predators have seen their prowess diminish at both ends of the ice during an ill-timed six-game losing streak.
In their next attempt to snap that lengthy skid Monday night, they’ll get to face an Arizona Coyotes team that’s struggled in most aspects of the game for much of this season.
Nashville (41-19-7) has been outscored 22-11 in its last six and its Central Division lead over St. Louis has been cut from nine points to two. The Blues, idle until Tuesday, will have three games in hand after the Predators’ visit to Arizona.
The losing streak is Nashville’s longest since a franchise-worst eight-game slide in 2012-13. Before their current skid, the Predators were giving up the second-fewest goals per game in the NHL at 2.26 and were third in the Western Conference in generating 2.95 per contest.
Once considered an MVP candidate, Pekka Rinne is 1-6-1 with a 3.18 goals-against average in his last eight starts. He was 34-7-2 with a 1.94 GAA in his first 43 games.
The Predators have allowed the first goal in each of their last 11 games but it was a quick response to a Nashville goal that led to a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg on Saturday. The Predators’ Ryan Ellis tied the game with 9:43 left in the second period but the Jets got the tiebreaking goal just 35 seconds later.
"Obviously, I think a lot of guys in here are (ticked) off and frustrated because I thought we fought hard again tonight, and not getting the results," captain Shea Weber said. "At the same time we’ve got to find a way. We’re working at this. It’s not going to come easy; we know that."
The Predators open a four-game road trip against the lowly Coyotes, who are 2-12-1 in their last 15. Arizona earned both of those victories via shootouts.
The Coyotes (21-38-7) snapped a 10-game skid – their longest since the franchise relocated from Winnipeg before the 1995-96 season – with a 3-2 win over Vancouver on Thursday but fell 2-0 to Montreal on Saturday.
The shutout was their ninth this season, leaving them just shy of Buffalo’s league-worst 10. Arizona has generated the fewest goals per game in the West at 2.08 and is one of the NHL’s worst defensive clubs, allowing 3.29 goals per contest.
The Coyotes have also gone 2 for 23 on the power play in their last 10 games. Nashville is 1 for 17 with a man advantage in its last seven contests.
"We’re looking to play hard. That’s all you can ask really," Arizona defenseman Michael Stone said. "We’re done talking about the situation we’re in. We’re just trying to win hockey games."
Nashville has won four in a row over Arizona and took a 5-1 victory in the desert in the most recent matchup Dec. 11. Rinne made 31 saves and Ellis scored the final of the Predators’ three first-period goals.
Ellis also converted the shootout winner in a 4-3 home victory over the Coyotes on Oct. 21, and tallied a goal and two assists.
Mike Fisher has four goals and three assists in his last eight regular-season games against Arizona.