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Game #7 Preview: Arizona vs. Ottawa

The Coyotes host the Senators today at Gila River Arena before venturing out on a four-game road trip

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #7: ARIZONA (3-2-1) vs. OTTAWA (1-4-1)

4:00 PM PST - Gila River Arena | Glendale, Arizona

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

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

Referees: Brad Meier #34, Kendrick Nicholson #30

Linesmen: Bevan Mills #53, Ryan Gibbons #58

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> ARIZONA VS. OTTAWA <

The Coyotes host the Ottawa Senators for a late afternoon, early evening affair today at Gila River Arena, marking the first of two scheduled meetings between the clubs this season.

The teams will see each other again on February 13 at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre.

With points in four straight contests (3-0-1), the Coyotes host a Senators club that has only compiled a single win through its first six games. Ottawa scrapped for a point against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night, overcoming two separate one-goal deficits to force the game to overtime and a five-round shootout.

The Senators are certainly not a team to be overlooked.

"They work hard, they really work hard, they're a hard-working team," head coach Rick Tocchet said of today's opponent following Friday's practice. "I know [D.J. Smith] really well, and those guys love playing for him, you can just tell by the passion in their game. They're a young team, I've watched every one of their games. They had Toronto on the ropes, they beat Tampa, they had St. Louis on the ropes, they're growing the right way."

Today serves as the Coyotes' final home game until October 30; they travel to New York on Sunday to begin a four-game road trip, which kicks off Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Antti Raanta gets the start, his second of the season, as confirmed by Tocchet on Friday. Raanta stopped 29 of 32 shots faced in the Coyotes' 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche last Saturday.

Craig Anderson is the confirmed starter for Ottawa.

Defenseman Aaron Ness was recalled from the Tucson Roadrunners Saturday morning, and in a corresponding move, Jordan Oesterle has been placed on the Coyotes' injured reserve list. Ness is expected to serve as Arizona's extra defenseman today while Ilya Lyubushkin makes his season debut.

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> THREE THINGS <

SCHMALTZ'S STRETCH: Nick Schmaltz comes into the night riding a four-game point streak, totaling seven points (3G, 4A) during that span. The 23-year-old forward is responsible for two of the Coyotes' three game-winning goals this season and is currently one of only 12 players in the league to have multiple game-winners to his credit. He and his line mates, Conor Garland and Christian Dvorak have combined for nine points (5G, 4A) during the last two games.

AN OTTAWA TERROR: Like most of the team's he's faced through the years of his incredibly storied career, Phil Kessel has produced at a phenomenal rate when playing the Senators. In 63 career games against Ottawa, Kessel is almost hitting the score sheet at a point-per-game pace, amassing 61 (27G, 34A).

ELEVEN GOING ON SEVEN: The Coyotes have surrendered the fewest goals of any team thus far, allowing just 11 through their first six games played. Entering their seventh game of the campaign today, the Coyotes' stingy average of 1.83 goals-against-per-game is the second lowest among all 31 NHL teams.

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> LAST TIME AROUND <

January 22, 2019 - Arizona (3) at Ottawa (2)

It was a three-point showcase night for Vinnie Hinostroza (2G, 1A) during the Coyotes' previous meeting with the Senators, a 3-2 victory last January at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre.

Hinostroza scored Arizona's first two goals, giving the Coyotes a lead in the first period before reclaiming said lead early in the second minutes after Bobby Ryan scored the equalizer.

Derek Stepan netted the eventual game-winning goal late in the second period. Darcy Kuemper turned away 25 of 27 shots faced to earn the win.

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> NUMBER TO KNOW <

FIVE (5)

The Coyotes have converted on the power play five times during their last two games, going a perfect 2-for-2 Tuesday night in Winnipeg and 3-for-6 Thursday night against Nashville.

Prior to that, the Coyotes failed to score on their first nine power plays of the season, a stretch of four games. Arizona's sharp uptick in production on the man advantage over the course of the last two games has rocketed them up to seventh in the NHL with a 29.4% success rate.

Phil Kessel leads the team in power play points with three (2G, 1A).

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> QUICK HITS <

  • The Coyotes are 6-1-1 in their previous eight games against the Senators dating back to October of 2015.
  • The Senators are winless on the road this season (0-1-1) and finished the 2018-19 campaign with a 11-28-2 record away from home.
  • The Senators are the only team yet to have scored a power play goal this season; they are 0-for-21 on the power play.
  • Derek Stepan has 21 points (9G, 12A) in 25 career games against the Senators.
  • Phil Kessel will be honored for 1,000 NHL games played during a pregame ceremony.

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