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Preview: Coyotes vs. Flyers

Arizona is starting 2016-17 season with a home game on Saturday night

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

Coyotes vs Flyers: Keys to Game

Coyotes players preview tonight's game vs. Flyers

From the morning skate, Radim Vrbata, Alex Goligoski, Max Domi & Ryan White offer insight into tonight's home game vs. Philadelphia

  • 02:07 •

GLENDALE - The Coyotes will begin their 2016-17 season by hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at Gila River Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (AZ time).

With 40-year-old captain Shane Doan leading a team loaded with talented prospects, Arizona (0-0-0) will attempt to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season for the first time since 2011-12.

Five rookies earned a spot on the Coyotes Opening Night roster, and four of them - forwards Laurent Dauphin, Lawson Crouse and Christian Dvorak and defenseman Jakob Chychrun - are expected to play in the first game. All but Dauphin, who played eight games last season, will be making their NHL debuts.

"I could probably count on one hand how many times that's happened in my NHL career," said Head Coach Dave Tippett, who has been an NHL bench boss since 2002. "The biggest thing about it is those players have earned their right into the lineup. They've had good camps and they showed they could play at this level."

Video: Head Coach Dave Tippett previews the Coyotes' opener

Mike Smith will start in goal for the Coyotes, who posted a 5-1-2 record in the preseason but haven't played a game in eight days.

Besides the prospects, several other newcomers will play their first game with Arizona including defensemen Alex Goligoski and Luke Schenn, and forwards Radim Vrbata and Ryan White. Vrbata is starting his third stint with the Coyotes.

On the flip side, forward Jamie McGinn likely won't make his debut due to an upper-body injury he suffered in training camp, and prospect Dylan Strome, the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, is expected to be a healthy scratch. 

"We've got a lot of young guys here we're going to have to integrate," Tippett said. "You can't just throw them all out there to the wolves. We're going to make sure everybody can do their best to play their best. (Strome) will get opportunity. He has to be able to get in there and play his game. When he has the puck he's a good player; he makes good plays but positionally and strength with the puck and playing without the puck are all things that, not just Dylan but all young players have to learn."

Doan will enter the game needing just four goals to reach 400 for his NHL career, which began in 1995-96, and 55 points to reach 1,000.

The Flyers (1-0-0) began their season on Friday night and beat Los Angeles, 4-2, at the Staples Center. 

Forward Sean Couturier notched two goals for Philadelphia, which scored all of its goals in the second period when it launched 21 shots. 

Michal Neuvirth made 23 saves for the Flyers in their opener, but Steve Mason is expected to start in net vs. Arizona.

The Flyers will play minus forward Brayden Schenn, who will serve the second game of a three-game suspension, and defenseman Radko Gudas, who will serve the second game of a six-game suspension.


TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM



Domi - Hanzal - Vrbata

Rieder - Dvorak - Duclair

Martinook - Richardson - Doan

Crouse - Dauphin - White


Ekman-Larsson - Murphy

Goligoski - Schenn

Chychrun - McBain





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