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Game #56 Preview: Arizona vs. Carolina

Coyotes wrap-up home stand against Hurricanes; Raanta starts, Ekman-Larsson and Demers out

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #56: ARIZONA (27-21-7) vs. CAROLINA (30-20-3)

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: Scott Cherrey #50, Brad Kovachik #71

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ARIZONA VS. CAROLINA

The Coyotes put the finishing touches on their four-game home stand tonight as they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Gila River Arena, marking the second and final meeting between the teams this season.

Through the first three games of the home stand, the Coyotes have pocketed four of a possible six points and enter the night with an eight-game point streak on home ice.

The Coyotes are coming off of a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night as Antti Raanta made 30 saves to pitch his second shutout of the season. It was the fourth shutout win for Arizona this year.

The Hurricanes are coming off of a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday and are playing the second of a four-game road trip tonight as they make their lone visit to Arizona.

"Similar team to Edmonton," head coach Rick Tocchet said of the Hurricanes following Thursday's optional morning skate. "A very good hockey club, we got a little taste of that when we went [to Carolina]. They're a fast team, they thrive on turnovers, they've got really good defensemen and high-end players. Same thing, we need to play a 200-foot game and get on top, short shifts, they're a dangerous team."

Raanta will make his third consecutive start, Tocchet confirmed following Wednesday's practice. The Coyotes will again be without defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jason Demers as they tend to injuries.

"It's a lesson for us because you can overcome things," Tocchet said of winning Tuesday's game despite missing those two key names. "You can overcome injuries if you play the right way, and we did that against Edmonton."

Robbie Russo was recalled from the Tucson Roadrunners on Thursday morning.

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THREE THINGS

CHASING HISTORY: Phil Kessel tonight will play in his 830th-straight game, tying Andrew Cogliano for sixth-place on the NHL's all-time consecutive games played list. His streak began on November 3, 2009 as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kessel has played in a total of 1,051 NHL games over the course of his 14-year NHL career, 51 of those coming against tonight's opponent, the Carolina Hurricanes, of whom he's totaled 30 points against (12G, 18A). He's currently tied with Conor Garland for fourth on the team in scoring this season with 31 points (11G, 20A).

EIGHT STRAIGHT: The Coyotes enter the night with an eight-game point streak on home ice at Gila River Arena, a run that began on December 31 with the team's 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Since then, the Coyotes have posted a 5-0-3 mark as hosts. This is just the 10th time in franchise history that a point streak of eight games or more at home has been achieved, and the first such streak since the 2013-14 roster put together an 11-game run (9-0-2) from October 3 - November 21, 2013.

SALVAGE THE STAND: Despite the Coyotes' current home stand starting with back-to-back losses, the team was able to earn a point in each of those defeats. Add in Tuesday's win, and they now have a chance to secure six of a possible eight points should they win tonight against the Hurricanes. "We want to be a hard team to play against in our building," Jakob Chychrun said. "Our fans have been great this year and the team wants to put together wins for them."

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LAST TIME AROUND

JANUARY 10, 2020 - ARIZONA (0) at CAROLINA (3)

The Coyotes put up 32 shots but were unable to find the back of the net in the teams' previous meeting at Carolina's PNC Arena on January 10, suffering a 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes.

At the time, it was the second-straight game the Coyotes had failed to score, serving as their fourth shutout loss of the season.

Antti Raanta turned away 25 of the 28 shots he faced but left the game after two periods of play. Adin Hill stopped the lone third period shot he faced in relief of Raanta.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

FIFTEEN (15)

Christian Dvorak tied his single season career-high for goals scored with his empty net tally to secure Tuesday's win over Edmonton, registering his 15th of the year.

Dvorak scored 15 goals in each of his first two seasons, his rookie campaign in 2016-17 and the following year in 2017-18. He reached that mark, both seasons, in 78 games. He scored his 15th on Tuesday in his 55th game of the year, 23 games ahead of his career-high pace.

Dvorak's 15 goals are the second-most on the roster, behind only Conor Garland's 18.

He has one goal in five games played against the Hurricanes over the course of his career, the game-opening tally in a 4-2 Coyotes win at Carolina's PNC Arena on March 3, 2017.

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QUICK HITS

  • Derek Stepan has 27 points (9G, 18A) in 31 career games against the Hurricanes.
  • Teuvo Teravainen leads the Hurricanes in scoring with 51 points (11G, 40A).
  • The Coyotes rank eighth in the NHL with an 82.5 PK%.
  • Taylor Hall (3A) and Conor Garland (2G, 1A) enter the night with three-game point streaks.
  • The Hurricanes are 12-11-2 on the road this season.
  • The Coyotes are 14-3-0 this season when Lawson Crouse records a point.
  • Justin Williams has 24 points (7G, 17A) in 50 career games against the Coyotes.
  • Ariziona owns a 32-36-8-5 all-time record against Carolina.

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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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