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Game #55 Preview: Arizona vs. Edmonton

Coyotes' final Pacific Division match-up until March; Raanta starts, Ekman-Larsson out

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #55: ARIZONA (26-21-7) vs. EDMONTON (28-18-6)

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: Kelly Sutherland #11, Garrett Rank #7

Linesmen: Brad Kovachik #71, Scott Cherrey #50

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ARIZONA VS. EDMONTON

The Coyotes welcome a divisional opponent to Gila River Arena tonight as they continue their four-game home stand with a date against the Edmonton Oilers.

This marks the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season; the Coyotes have posted a 1-1-1 mark against the Oilers thus far.

Entering the evening with back-to-back post-regulation losses, the Coyotes will try to extend their season-long home point streak, which currently sits at seven games (4-0-3), with a tally in the win column tonight. They are coming off of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

"I just know that we need to have a big game, it's a team that we're really trying to catch, it's a good team," Brad Richardson said after the team's optional morning skate. "The last little stretch has been tough so we're trying to turn it around, this isn't a game that you shouldn't have any problem getting up for."

The Oilers are coming off of an 8-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday and have earned points in five consecutive games (4-0-1).

"We're looking for consistency from 21 guys, we've stated it enough that we need everyone to be consistent," head coach Rick Tocchet said. "I'm not looking for everybody to be All-Stars out there, but you're looking for consistency, and that's all you can ask for as a coach. We're not asking for anything more than that from our 21 players."

Antti Raanta will get the start tonight, looking to ride the momentum of his 42-save performance on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Oliver Ekman-Larsson will not play as he continues to recover from a lower-body injury; he is considered day-to-day.

Ilya Lyubushkin will re-enter the lineup after missing Saturday's game due to illness. Defenseman Aaron Ness has been recalled from the Tucson Roadrunners following Kyle Capobianco's assignment.

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THREE THINGS

LAST ONE: Tonight marks the final game against a Pacific Division opponent until March 4, making tonight's points all that more important. Only six points separate the top five teams in the division; the Coyotes currently own 59 points among the group while the Vancouver Canucks pace the Pacific with 65. Arizona has compiled a 9-7-4 record against Pacific teams this season.

HALL AT HOME: Taylor Hall leads the Coyotes in scoring during the team's current seven-game home point streak, putting up a total of nine points (3G, 6A) during that stretch. He enters the night with an active six-game point streak at Gila River Arena, the longest on the roster. Through his first 19 games with the Coyotes, Hall has 17 points (7G, 10A).

HOLD YOUR ZONE: The Oilers have scored a combined 22 goals over their past four games, dating back to their 7-3 win over the Coyotes on January 18. Edmonton comes to Arizona with the NHL's top-ranked power play. "It's no secret who their players are, so we've really got to be good defensively," Brad Richardson said. "That was our identity the past couple of seasons, but we've gotten away from it lately. We need to be really good defensively and try to take advantage of when they make mistakes."

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LAST TIME AROUND

JANUARY 18, 2020 - ARIZONA (3) at EDMONTON (7)

The Coyotes found themselves facing a steep deficit early on in the teams' previous meeting on January 18 at Edmonton's Rogers Place, an eventual 7-3 loss to the Oilers.

Edmonton scored three times in the first and twice early in the second to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Taylor Hall and Christian Dvorak countered with goals later in the middle frame and Oliver Ekman-Larsson added one in the third. The Oilers, however, scored two more times to quiet the Coyotes' comeback efforts.

Antti Raanta stopped 12 of the 18 shots he faced in two periods of action; Adin Hill turned away the lone shot fired his way in the third.

Arizona is 1-1-1 against Edmonton this season.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

TWENTY-FIVE (25)

Phil Kessel has produced at a more than a point-per-game pace throughout his NHL career against the Edmonton Oilers, racking up a total of 25 (11G, 14A) in 23 games.

Kessel last scored on January 14, a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks, when he finished the night with two goals and an assist for a season-high three-point effort.

With 31 points (11G, 20A) on the year to-date, Kessel is tied for third on the team in scoring with Christian Dvorak. Kessel assisted on Dvorak's second period power play tally the last time the Coyotes played the Oilers on January 18.

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QUICK HITS

  • Nick Schmaltz leads the Coyotes in home scoring with 20 points (5G, 15A).
  • Edmonton is 15-10-2 on the road this season.
  • The Coyotes are 20-5-1 when scoring the first goal of a game.
  • The Oilers rank first in the NHL with a 29.5 PP%.
  • Carl Soderberg 's next goal will be the 100th of his NHL career.
  • Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl (83) and Connor McDavid (79) lead the NHL in points.
  • The Coyotes are 17-4-1 this season when scoring a power play goal.
  • Arizona owns an 83-98-11-12 all-time record against Edmonton.

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

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