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Game #14 Preview: Arizona at Edmonton

Darcy Kuemper starts, Oilers' first line draws focus, Phil Kessel's decorated history

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #14: ARIZONA (8-4-1) AT EDMONTON (10-4-1)

7:00 PM MST - Rogers Place | Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Graham Skilliter #24, Brian Pochmara #16

Linesmen: Matt MacPherson #83, Ryan Daisy #81

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ARIZONA AT EDMONTON

The Coyotes being a two-game back-to-back western Canada swing tonight when they take on the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. The team will then travel to Calgary ahead of Tuesday's game against the Flames following tonight's contest.

Tonight marks the first of four scheduled meetings between the teams this season and the first of two at Rogers Place; Arizona will later return on January 18. The Coyotes will host the Oilers on November 24 and February 4 at Gila River Arena.

The Coyotes, who arrived in Edmonton Sunday evening, held a morning skate at Rogers Place. No changes are anticipated to be made to the lineup the team used in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Oilers are opening a three-game home stand tonight. Edmonton has won each of its previous two games and is coming off a 2-1 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday; Leon Draisaitl scored the overtime-winner.

Including Draisaitl, the Oilers' roster features two of the NHL's six 20-point players. Draisaitl has registered 26 points this season, Connor McDavid 23.

"Every time I turn on 'NHL on the Fly', [Draisaitl] is scoring a big goal, either him or McDavid, and it seems like every overtime goal too," Rick Tocchet said following the morning skate. "They're high-end guys, they're stars, they're superstars, and a lot of our game plan is around those two guys."

Mikko Koskinen will start for the Oilers.

Darcy Kuemper will make his second-straight start and his 10th of the season.

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THREE THINGS

ROAD STEADY: A tumultuous stretch in the schedule sees the Coyotes play five of their next seven games on the road. The team enters the night with a 4-2-1 record as visitors, earning nine of a possible 14 points in opposing buildings, outscoring opponents by a 19-18 count. The Oilers, though, have been a force on home ice this season at Rogers Arena, where they've posted a 5-1-0 record in six games.

TOP LINE DANGEROUS: The Coyotes will keep track of the Oilers' top unit tonight, and for good reasons. Leon Draisaitl ranks second in the league with 26 points (13G, 13A), while Connor McDavid is tied for third with 23 points (6G, 17A). "Their top line is going to be key for us," Alex Goligoski said after the morning skate. "If we can keep them off the board and limit their chances, that's going to be our best chance tonight."

DARCY'S TENTH: Darcy Kuemper enters the night with a 6-3-0 record as he prepares to make his 10th start of the season. Coming off a 33-save shutout on Saturday, Kuemper's 1.67 GAA and .942 SV% both rank second in the NHL among qualified goaltenders. "He's been amazing," Goligoski said. "He's been so solid that he elevates the play of us in front of him, and playing the way he's playing right now, it's a comfortable spot for everyone."

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LAST TIME AROUND

March 16, 2019 - Arizona (2) vs. Edmonton (3) F/OT

The Coyotes twice overcame deficits in regulation courtesy two goals from Alex Galchenyuk, one in the first period and one in the second period, but eventually faltered in overtime to the Edmonton Oilers during the teams' previous meeting on March 16 of last season at Gila River Arena.

Connor McDavid scored the overtime-winner 58 seconds into the extra frame.

Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves. The Coyotes finished with a 2-1-1 record against the Oilers last season.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

TWENTY-FOUR (24)

Phil Kessel has produced at a more than point-per-game rate in his career against the Oilers, putting up 24 points (11G, 13A) in 20 games played against Edmonton.

He recorded two assists the last time he played a game in Edmonton to help the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-5 overtime win over the Oilers on October 23, 2018.

Kessel is coming off his second multi-point performance of the season in the Coyotes' 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, recording a goal and an assist. His nine points (3G, 6A) on the season tie him with Conor Garland , Alex Goligoski, and Nick Schmaltz for the second-most on the roster.

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QUICK HITS

  • The Coyotes are 30-7-7 in their last 44 games against the Oilers.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson 's 27 points (10G, 17A) against the Oilers (36 GP) are his highest point total against any opponent.
  • Alex Goligoski comes into the night with a three-game point streak and leads all Coyotes defensemen in scoring with nine points (1G, 8A).
  • Mikko Koskinen posted a 2-0-1 record against the Coyotes last season with a .947 SV%.
  • James Neal has the most career points (20) against the Coyotes among any player on the Oilers roster (11G, 9A).

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Lead Photo Credit: Andy Devlin - Getty Images // Morning Skate Photo Credit: Wesley Fry - Arizona Coyotes // Footer Photo Credit: Andy Devlin - Getty Images

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