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Game #33 Preview: Arizona vs. Calgary

Keller to play in his 200th NHL game and Raanta to make his 12th start; Flames come in on fire

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #33: ARIZONA (18-10-4) vs. CALGARY (16-12-4)

7:00 PM MST - Gila River Arena | Glendale, AZ

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

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

Referees: Brian Pochmara #16, T.J. Luxmore #21

Linesmen: Ryan Gibbons #58, Andrew Smith #51

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ARIZONA VS. CALGARY

The Coyotes open a three-game home stand tonight when they host the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena, marking the third of the team's four scheduled meetings this season.

Arizona will travel to Calgary's Scotiabank Saddledome for the season series finale on March 6.

Coming off of a 4-3 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, the Coyotes wrapped up their four-game road trip with a 3-1-0 record, earning six of eight points.

"That was a really good road trip for us, but at the same time this is a huge game for us tonight; in my eyes it's a must-win," Lawson Crouse said. "These are the points that we'll need down the road. We've got to follow up that trip and lead into this game."

And the Coyotes will return home to face a red-hot Flames club, who following their 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, extended their win streak to five games. Calgary is 5-0-0 under current interim head coach Geoff Ward.

"A confident team, there's a lot of energy in that team," head coach Rick Tocchet said of the Flames. "You look on paper, even when they were struggling a bit, you knew it was only a matter of time until they got out of it, they've got too many high-end players. They've got guys that like to go to the net, they're gritty, they've got guys that like to shoot the puck a lot."

The Flames, facing a quick turnaround having played last night in Colorado, are 1-3-0 in the second games of back-to-back sets this season.

Antti Raanta will make his 12th start of the season tonight, Tocchet confirmed following the morning skate.

It was announced this morning that defenseman Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury, he will not play tonight. There has been no confirmation of any additional lineup changes. Robbie Russo was recalled from the Tucson Roadrunners on Monday night.

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THREE THINGS

POWERFUL STUFF: The Coyotes scored a total of five power play goals during their four-game road trip and have tallied on the man advantage in six of their last nine games. Arizona is nearly perfect in games this season when it strikes on the power play, posting a 13-0-1 record. The Flames, though, have killed off all nine Coyotes power plays they've faced through the teams' first two meetings this year. Calgary comes into the night with the league's ninth-ranked penalty kill (84.4%).

BIG CARL: Offseason acquisition Carl Soderberg is coming off of a road trip in which he registered six points (2G, 4A) in four games, and is now tied with Phil Kessel for fourth on the team in points with 18. Soderberg's nine goals are the second most on the roster to Conor Garland 's 12. He scored in the Coyotes' previous match-up against Calgary on November 16; Arizona is 12-1-1 in games when Soderberg hits the score sheet.

DIVISIONAL TILT: Tied atop the Pacific Division in standings points (40) with the Edmonton Oilers, the Coyotes sit four points ahead of the third place Flames (36) entering tonight's contest. A win, coupled with an Oilers loss of any kind to the Carolina Hurricanes, will give the Coyotes sole possession of first place. Arizona is 6-2-3 against Pacific opponents this season and has earned points in three straight games against Calgary dating back to March 7, 2019.

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LAST TIME AROUND

NOVEMBER 16, 2019 - ARIZONA (3) vs. CALGARY (0)

The Coyotes scored twice in under two minutes in the early stages of the second period to open the offense in their previous meeting against the Calgary Flames, a 3-0 win at Gila River Arena on November 16.

Derek Stepan struck for the first goal, Carl Soderberg the second. Lawson Crouse added an empty net tally in the final seconds of regulation to secure the victory.

Darcy Kuemper stopped all 37 shots he faced to pitch his second shutout of the season.

Arizona is 1-0-1 against Calgary this season.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

TWO HUNDRED (200)

Clayton Keller will play in his 200th NHL game tonight, becoming the sixth Coyotes player to reach that career milestone this season.

Darcy Kuemper and Nick Schmaltz hit that mark when the Coyotes last played the Flames on November 16, Vinnie Hinostroza on November 18, Christian Dvorak on November 23, and Jakob Chychrun on December 3.

Keller has 134 points (42G, 92A) through his first 199 games, is currently second on the roster in scoring this season with 20 points (5G, 15A), and registered four points (1G, 3A) during the team's recent four-game road trip.

The Coyotes are 13-2-2 in games this year when Keller records a point.

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QUICK HITS

  • Arizona's 88.2% home PK is the third-highest in the NHL.
  • The Coyotes lead the league with a 2.28 GA/G and their 73 goals-against are the second-fewest goals allowed in the NHL (NYI - 69).
  • Matthew Tkachuk leads the Flames in scoring with 27 points (12G, 15A).
  • Antti Raanta's .926 SV% ranks 10th in the NHL among qualified goaltenders.
  • The Flames are 4-5-1 against Pacific Division teams this season.
  • Christian Dvorak (4G, 6A) and Nick Schmaltz (2G, 8A) lead the Coyotes in home scoring with 10 points apiece.
  • Arizona owns an 84-93-20-5 all-time record against Calgary.

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

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