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Game #11 Preview: Arizona at Buffalo

The Coyotes vie to become the first visiting team to win at KeyBank Center this season in road trip finale

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #11: ARIZONA (6-3-1) AT BUFFALO (9-2-1)

4:00 PM PST - KeyBank Center | Buffalo, New York

TV: Fox Sports Arizona Plus (Matt McConnell, Tyson Nash, Todd Walsh)

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Ghislain Hebert #22, Francis Charron #6

Linesmen: Mark Shewchyk #92, Tyson Baker #88

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ARIZONA AT BUFFALO

The Coyotes conclude their four-game road trip tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center; the contest marks the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season.

Buffalo will make its lone visit to Gila River Arena on February 29.

Arizona has earned four of a possible six points on the trip thus far, posting a 2-1-0 record while coming off of a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. The Coyotes are 6-1-1 over their previous eight games.

The team practiced in Buffalo on Sunday and held an optional morning skate ahead of this evening's game.

The Sabres sit atop the NHL with 19 points on the year and a 9-2-1 record; they are coming off of a 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

"[Buffalo] is one of the best teams in the league right now, record-wise and the way they play," head coach Rick Tocchet said of the Sabres following Monday's morning skate. "They score. Dahlin and Eichel, they're at the top of their games, they're hell of a players, then you've got Skinner who scored 40-50 last year. They've got high-end talent, this is a tough building to play in, they're cranking right now."

Darcy Kuemper will start for the Coyotes, Tocchet confirmed.

Carter Hutton is in net for the Sabres.

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THREE THINGS

HOT AT HOME: The Sabres are the only team in the NHL that remains unbeaten on home ice. Touting a perfect 5-0-0 record at KeyBank Center, Buffalo has outscored its opponents by a sharp 2-1 margin (22-11) as hosts while executing on 36.8% of its home power plays (7-for-19) and killing off 90.9% of its home penalties (10-for-11). The Coyotes enter tonight's game with a 3-2-1 road record.

EARLY GOINGS: The Coyotes have struck for the first goal in four of their 10 games played thus far and are a perfect 4-0-0 when doing so. Arizona's ability to apply first period pressure has, up until the previous two games, been a consistent factor in the team's success - the Coyotes have outshot their opponent by 38 in first periods this season, which is the second-highest total in the NHL only to the Los Angeles Kings' +59 differential. The Sabres have scored first in nine of their 12 games played; they are 8-1-0 when doing so.

FOR THREE!: Three goals has proved to be the benchmark number to the Coyotes' status in the win column this year; they are 6-0-0 when hitting or exceeding the three-goal mark and 0-3-1 when held to two or fewer. Arizona is averaging 3.10 goals per game this season, which has paired tremendously with its 2.20 goals-against average, which is the second-best in the NHL.

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LAST TIME AROUND

December 13, 2018 - Arizona (1) at Buffalo (3)

Christian Fischer scored the Coyotes' lone goal in the teams' previous meeting on December 13 of last season at KeyBank Center, a 3-1 loss.

Fischer's goal came just over seven minutes into the contest when he snuck a backhand wraparound attempt through the legs of Carter Hutton, cutting the Coyotes' deficit in half after the Sabres scored twice during the opening six minutes of play.

Buffalo added a goal in the third period. Darcy Kuemper made 30 saves despite being tagged with the losing decision. The Coyotes finished with a 0-2-0 record against the Sabres during the 2018-19 campaign.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

NINE (9)

Scoring has been widely spread out for the Coyotes throughout the first three games of the team's current four-game road trip. Of Arizona's 10 combined goals scored so far during the venture through New York, Uniondale, and Newark, nine different players have been credited with a goal.

Michael Grabner is the only player to have recorded multiple goals during the road trip thus far, a showcase of balance and depth throughout the team's four lines.

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QUICK HITS

  • Buffalo's Jack Eichel has totaled 11 points (3G, 8A) in eight career games against Arizona.
  • Coyotes Assistant Coach Phil Housley served as the Sabres' head coach the previous two seasons.
  • Nick Schmaltz has registered seven points (3G, 4A) in Arizona's six road games thus far.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson ranks fourth in the NHL with 29.8 shifts per game.
  • The Sabres are just one of two teams in the NHL with four players with at least five goals.
  • Alex Goligoski has 18 points (7G, 11A) in 24 career games against the Sabres.

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