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Coyotes Host Sharks Tonight in Preseason Finale

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE -- The Coyotes are playing a preseason game tonight vs. the San Jose Sharks at Gila River Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. AZ time.

Arizona will enter its final exhibition game with a 4-1-2 preseason record.

Mike Smith will start in goal; he is 2-0-0 with a 2.88 goals-against average this preseason.

Photo by Getty Images.
Forward Sam Gagner, who has been nursing a minor injury for the past week, will play as a wing on a line with center Martin Hanzal and winger Martin Erat.

The Coyotes have 25 players remaining on their training camp roster and must be down to 23 by Oct. 7. Prospect Brendan Perlini is still in camp, but he will soon return to his junior team leaving the Coyotes with one final cut to make.

Forward Justin Hodgman and defenseman Matt Smaby are considered to be the remaining bubble players in camp.

Hodgman, who has never played an NHL game, is leading the team in preseason scoring with five points in four games.

"I'm very happy to be here," Hodgman said. "I wasn't happy with my last game in Edmonton and I have the opportunity to get in tonight. I'm just going to try to show them that I still belong."

He added, "I'm excited for it. This is going to be a challenge. This will probably be one of the best quality games I've ever played in. I can't wait to get going."

Smaby has played 122 NHL games - all with Tampa Bay - but he hasn't been in the League since 2010-11. He is at camp without a contract - on a professional tryout.

"I have a huge desire to get back," Smaby said. "My goal coming here was to make the team out of training camp. Hopefully I've done enough and this game can just be another step."

Smaby is a big hitter who prides himself on being a hard player to play against.

"My focus is to be really good defensively, and I've worked a lot on my puck skills and I think they're a lot better," Smaby said. "I feel good moving the puck."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s game can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Updates will be provided on Arizona’s official Twitter account: @arizonacoyotes

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