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Game #43 Preview: Arizona vs. Anaheim

Oliver Ekman-Larsson to play in his 700th NHL game, Taylor Hall his 600th NHL game. Antti Raanta gets the start

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #43: ARIZONA (22-16-4) vs. ANAHEIM (16-19-5)

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: Brandon Schrader #46, Trevor Hanson #14

Linesmen: Bryan Pancich #94, Andrew Smith #51

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ARIZONA VS. ANAHEIM

The Coyotes continue their home stand tonight as they host the Anaheim Ducks at Gila River Arena, marking the third of four scheduled meetings between the teams this season.

Arizona will visit Anaheim's Honda Center on January 29 to complete the season series.

The Ducks are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday afternoon, dropping their second consecutive game and the third in their last four.

Both games played between these teams thus far have been decided by one goal.

"All I know is when we play [Anaheim], they're always hard games, it's a one-goal game either way," head coach Rick Tocchet said following the morning skate. "I don't care who you're playing nowadays, everybody's prepared to play, so it's our job as individuals to be accountable to play the right way. If you don't sustain it, you're going to be in trouble."

The Coyotes are coming off of a 3-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, snapping their season-long stretch of three consecutive regulation losses.

"We're playing a division rival that we have a tough time against," Tocchet added. "I hate to use the word 'playoff' hockey game, but your antenna should be up, you should be playing an intense game against these guys tonight."

Antti Raanta will make his 18th start of the season tonight, Tocchet confirmed following the morning skate. No changes are expected to be made to the lineup the team used Tuesday.

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THREE THINGS

PUSH FOR FIFTY: A win tonight would see the Coyotes get to 50 points in the standings, a total they did not reach until January 22 last season. At this time last year, the Coyotes were at 36 points, and two years prior, were at just 23 points. "It's going to be a tight race all the way through until the end of the season here," Jakob Chychrun said. "You definitely have to rise to the challenge and be ready every night."

MEANINGFUL STUFF: The jam-packed Pacific Division is, without a doubt, the most tightly contested division in the NHL. Entering the night, the top five teams (VGK, ARI, VAN, EDM, CGY) are all within five points of each other and are all scheduled to play this evening. "It's fun," Rick Tocchet said of the division's competition. "Who wants to play games that are meaningless? It's important for us to realize every game is an important game for us. These games here, there's a lot at stake."

HOME AND ROAD: The Coyotes' 3-1 victory over the Blues on Tuesday got the team back to within a win of rebounding to a .500 mark at home. While Arizona's 9-10-1 record sits in the lower tiers of home records across the NHL, so does the Anaheim Ducks' road record, which at 6-12-2, is the third-worst visiting mark in the league. The Coyotes bested the Ducks the last time the teams met at Gila River Arena, a 4-3 shootout win.

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LAST TIME AROUND

NOVEMBER 27, 2019 - ARIZONA (4) vs. ANAHEIM (3) F/SO

The previous meeting between these teams resulted in a back-and-forth battle that extended to overtime and a shootout, the Coyotes eventually coming out on the winning end to earn a 4-3 shootout victory over the Ducks on November 27 at Gila River Arena.

Christian Dvorak struck for two goals in the first period and Alex Goligoski buried the game-tying tally with less than 10 minutes left to play in the third.

Conor Garland and Dvorak scored in the shootout for the Coyotes, Dvorak's fourth-round marker proved to be the game-deciding goal.

Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves in the win. Arizona is 1-1-0 against Anaheim so far this season.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

SEVEN HUNDRED (700)

Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson will play in his 700th career NHL game tonight, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to reach that mark.

The 28-year-old defenseman has 351 points (120G, 231A) through his first 699 NHL games, including 17 points (4G, 13A) through the team's first 42 games of this season.

He registered his 31st-career game-winning goal on December 17, tying him for fourth on the all-time franchise record list.

Taylor Hall , who assisted on that aforementioned Ekman-Larsson winner, will be playing in his 600th NHL game tonight.

Teppo Numminen is the only defenseman to appear in more franchise games than Ekman-Larsson, a total of 1,098.

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QUICK HITS

  • Phil Kessel has 22 points (9G, 13A) in 18 career games against the Ducks.
  • Conor Garland is riding a season-high three-game point streak (2G, 2A).
  • Ryan Getzlaf has 65 points (19G, 46A) in 71 career games against the Coyotes.
  • The Ducks are 11-10-2 all-time in their first game of a new calendar year.
  • Jakob Silfverberg leads the Ducks in goals (14) and points (27).
  • Christian Dvorak tied his career-high with seven shots on goal Tuesday.
  • The Coyotes are 14-3-1 this season when scoring a power play goal.
  • Arizona owns a 54-65-5-1 all-time record against Anaheim.

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

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