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Game #35 Preview: Arizona vs. New Jersey

Darcy Kuemper gets the call; Devils come in reeling as Coyotes look to finish home stand with a winning record

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #35: ARIZONA (19-11-4) vs. NEW JERSEY (9-17-5)

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: Chris Rooney #5, Kendrick Nicholson #30

Linesmen: Darren Gibbs #66, Brian Mach #78

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ARIZONA VS. NEW JERSEY

The Coyotes conclude their three-game home stand tonight as they host the New Jersey Devils at Gila River Arena, marking the final of the teams' two scheduled meetings this season.

Arizona is 1-1-0 on its current home stand and 8-7-1 overall as hosts.

"We want teams coming in here to know that it's going to be a tough game, that it's going to be tough to walk out of here with points," Oliver Ekman-Larsson said following Friday's practice. "We talked about it, this is our building, we don't want other teams coming in here and dictating the game, we want to play better at home and really establish that."

Coming off of a commanding 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, the Coyotes will look to sustain their path to establishing a rigid home identity this evening.

Welcome the Devils, who are coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday and have now lost seven-straight games (0-6-1).

"They play hard, and anytime you play a team that plays hard you have a chance to lose, so we've got to be careful," head coach Rick Tocchet said of tonight's opponent. "We don't have the right to take anybody lightly, that's just the way we are, we can't. You've got to do the right things [on the ice], I don't care who you play, this is the NHL."

Darcy Kuemper gets the nod, set to make his 23rd start of the season, as confirmed by Tocchet following Friday's practice.

No other lineup changes are expected for the Coyotes, who recalled forward Brayden Burke from the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday to fill the void of Barrett Hayton , who was loaned to Team Canada for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship tournament.

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THREE THINGS

TRIGGER HAPPY: The Coyotes have registered 40 or more shots in three consecutive games, doing so for the first time since the franchise relocated to Arizona, the previous instance coming from March 5-9, 1996 as the Winnipeg Jets. The team put up 47 shots on Sunday, 48 shots on Tuesday (a season-high), and 40 shots on Thursday. Oddly enough, the Coyotes' season-low single-game shot total came against the Devils on October 25, when they totaled just 17.

STRUGGLING IN JERSEY: The Devils come into Glendale reeling. New Jersey has lost 10 of its last 12 games (2-9-1) and seven-straight coming into tonight's contest. They are ranked second-to-last in the NHL in goals against (3.55 GA/G - 110) and goals for (2.39 GF/G - 74). Tonight is the final of a four-game road trip for the Devils, who are 5-10-0 away from home this season.

KUEMPER ON THE CUSP: Darcy Kuemper is just one win shy of surpassing the second-highest single season win total of his NHL career, when he won 14 games in 28 starts with the Minnesota Wild during the 2014-15 campaign. Kuemper, who matched that mark with his 28-save win Thursday against Chicago, enters the night second in the NHL in GAA (1.97) and SV% (.935).

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LAST TIME AROUND

OCTOBER 25, 2019 - ARIZONA (5) at NEW JERSEY (3)

The Coyotes overcame and early two-goal deficit and finished the contest with three unanswered goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Devils at New Jersey's Prudential Center in the teams' previous meeting on October 25.

Nick Schmaltz tallied in the first, Michael Grabner and Oliver-Ekman-Larsson in the second, and Barrett Hayton and Clayton Keller in the third.

Eight different players recorded a point while Antti Raanta made 32 saves to earn the win.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

TWENTY-THREE (23)

With his two-goal output in Thursday night's 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, Clayton Keller is now tied with Nick Schmaltz for the team lead in points with 23.

He's currently working with seven goals and 16 assists on the season and has points in eight of his last 11 games (3G, 7A). Keller registered 12 shots on goal on Thursday, tying a team record held by Jeremy Roenick, Brian Mullen, and Nelson Emerson.

The Coyotes are 14-3-2 in games when Keller finds the score sheet this season.

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QUICK HITS

  • Phil Kessel has 40 points (15G, 25A) in 50 career games against the Devils.
  • Arizona's six home PPG-against are tied for the third-fewest in the NHL.
  • Kyle Palmieri leads the Devils in goals scored with 11.
  • The Coyotes are 13-1-1 when scoring a power play goal this season.
  • Christian Dvorak leads the Coyotes in home scoring with 12 points (4G, 8A).
  • New Jersey is winless this season (0-8-1) when trailing after the first period.
  • Arizona owns a 41-26-9-3 all-time record against New Jersey.

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

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