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Game #25 Preview: Arizona vs. Edmonton

The top two teams in the Pacific Division meet tonight at Gila River Arena; Darcy Kuemper set to start

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #25: ARIZONA (14-8-2) vs. EDMONTON (15-7-3)

6:00 PM MST - Gila River Arena | Glendale, AZ

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

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis, Paul Bissonnette)

Referees: Wes McCauley #4, Dan O'Halloran #13

Linesmen: Derek Amell #75, Pierre Recicot #65

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ARIZONA VS. EDMONTON

The Coyotes host the Edmonton Oilers tonight at Gila River Arena, marking the second of the teams' four scheduled meetings this season.

Arizona will return to Rogers Place on January 18; Edmonton will return to Gila River Arena on February 4 for the season series finale.

Tonight completes the Coyotes' fourth back-to-back set of the campaign; Arizona is 2-0-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

The Coyotes are coming off a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon, the team's third win in its previous four games. The victory improved Arizona to 5-1-1 against Pacific Division opponents this season.

"We're happy with the points but we're going to forget about this game and move on," Vinnie Hinostroza said. "We've got a big game tomorrow, we've got a good team coming in and those are some big points to try to catch them."

The Oilers are coming off a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights last night; they are playing the fourth of a five-game road trip, where they've gone 2-1-0 thus far. Edmonton currently sits atop the Pacific Division with 33 points; Arizona placed second with 30 points.

Darcy Kuemper will start, Rick Tocchet confirmed before the team left for Los Angeles on Friday.

Additional lineup changes are not yet known, though Lawson Crouse , who left Saturday's game with an upper-body injury after crashing into the end boards early in the third period, is not expected to play.

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THREE THINGS

HOLDING IT DOWN: The Coyotes have shown to embrace late-game leads this season, shunning opponents' third period comeback attempts in almost every situation. After holding on to win Saturday in Los Angeles, Arizona improved to 10-0-1 in games when they lead after two periods of play. The Coyotes are just one of five teams in the NHL without a regulation loss when leading after 40 minutes. The Oilers, included in that group, are also 10-0-1 in such situations this season.

IT'S AN ADVANTAGE: If there's one avenue where the Coyotes have been perfect this season, it's been their record in games when capitalizing on the power play. Phil Kessel 's game opening tally in Los Angeles served as the team's 13th power play goal of the year, and with the win, the team improved to 9-0-0 in games when they record at least one power play goal. Arizona enters the night 21st in the NHL with a 17.6% success rate on the man advantage, executing on 13 of their 74 opportunities.

LOOK TO THE LEADERS: Darcy Kuemper, set to make his 16th start of the season tonight, leads the NHL with a 1.93 GAA and ranks second among qualified goaltenders with a .935 SV%. He'll face the league's leader in points (47) and assists (31) in Leon Draisaitl, along with Connor McDavid, who ranks second in the league in points (46) and goals (18).

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LAST TIME AROUND

November 4, 2019 - Arizona (3) at Edmonton (2) F/OT

It was a dramatic finish - and a good one at that - the last time these teams met, a 3-2 Coyotes overtime win at Rogers Place on November 4.

Goals in regulation time were provided by Michael Grabner and Carl Soderberg , both of which combined to counter the effects of Connor McDavid's game opening tally and Gaetan Haas' late-game equalizer for the Oilers.

Derek Stepan buried the game-winning goal just over two minutes into the extra frame as he and Nick Schmaltz sped in on a rush.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in the win.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

THIRTY (30)

The Coyotes became the sixth team in the NHL to reach 30 points following their 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon. They hit the 30-point mark in a stretch of 24 games, which is tied for the fourth fewest games needed in franchise history to hit that mark. Arizona also reached 30 points in 24 games during the 2000-01 season; the Jets did so in 1986-87.

The mark was reached in a franchise-fewest 18 games during the 1998-99 campaign, 21 games in 2013-14, and 23 games in 1999-00.

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QUICK HITS

  • The Coyotes are 31-7-7 in their last 45 games against the Oilers.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson 's 27 career points (10G, 17A) against the Oilers are his highest total against any NHL opponent.
  • Mikko Koskinen ranks eighth in the NHL with a 2.42 GAA and has suffered just one regulation loss this season.
  • Derek Stepan is one assist away from 300 in his NHL career.
  • Since November 11, Alex Goligoski (24) and Jakob Chychrun (22) rank one and two among the NHL's leaders for blocked shots.
  • Connor McDavid enters the night with a 10-game point streak (12G, 11A).
  • Arizona owns an 83-97-11-11 all-time record against Edmonton.

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Lead Photo Credit: Norm Hall - Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Norm Hall - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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