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Game #8 Preview: Arizona at New York [Rangers]

Kuemper to start as Coyotes begin a four-game road trip tonight against the Rangers

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #8: ARIZONA (4-2-1) at NEW YORK [RANGERS] (2-4-0)

4:00 PM PST - Madison Square Garden | New York, New York

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

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Steve Kozan #40, Trevor Hanson #14

Linesmen: Andrew Smith #51, James Tobias #61

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> ARIZONA AT NEW YORK [RANGERS] <

The Coyotes begin a four-game road trip tonight as they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season.

The Rangers will make their lone visit to Gila River Arena on March 14.

New York has lost its last four games after starting the season with back-to-back wins. They have been outscored 17-7 during their current losing streak.

New York's previous game resulted in a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at home; the Rangers were unable to recover from a 3-0 lead built by the Canucks in the first period.

Arizona enters the night with a three-game win streak and points in five straight games (4-0-1), results head coach Rick Tocchet atones to consistent play, whether it be at home or on the road. And of course, the Coyotes' upcoming stretch will feature some historically tough settings.

They practiced at Madison Square Garden on Monday and held an optional morning skate ahead of tonight's game.

"Regardless of the schedule, I like the way we're playing, it's consistent," Tocchet said following the morning skate. "These are always tough buildings to come into; Rangers, Islanders, Jersey, Buffalo, they're tough games, tough buildings, and we've got to be ready to play. It's important that we stay consistent."

Darcy Kuemper will make his sixth start of the season tonight; he has won each of his previous three starts and currently ranks second in GAA (1.62) and SV% (.949) among goalies who have played in at least four games.

No other lineup changes are expected, though Tocchet said there could be a game-time decision or two in regard to player maintenance.

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> THREE THINGS <

A MEMORABLE MOMENT: If you'll recall, the Coyotes' previous visit to Madison Square Garden ended both dramatically and victoriously. Oliver Ekman-Larsson whistled home the game-tying goal with three minutes to play and Derek Stepan registered the game-winner with 32 seconds remaining in overtime. Stepan played seven seasons with the Rangers from 2010-11 - 2016-17, recording 360 points (128G, 232A) in 515 games.

STAYING LIGHT: The Coyotes have only allowed 13 goals this season, which is the fewest in the NHL. Through six games played, that equals to a 1.86 goal-against-per-game, which is second in the league only to the Anaheim Ducks' 1.79.

TWO OR FEWER: Dating back to March of last season, Darcy Kuemper has gone 12 consecutive starts allowed two goals or less, a new franchise record, surpassing Nikolai Khabibulin's former record of 11 with his 23-save performance in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. His streak of allowing two goals or less is the longest active streak in the NHL.

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> LAST TIME AROUND <

January 6, 2019 - Arizona (5) vs New York [Rangers] (0)

Darcy Kuemper posted a 23-save shutout and the Coyotes' offense erupted for five goals, including two from Conor Garland and one from Clayton Keller to secure a commanding 5-0 win for the Coyotes over the New York Rangers in the clubs' previous meeting on January 22 of last season at Gila River Arena.

The win secured a season sweep for the Coyotes over the Rangers to finish a perfect 2-0-0 against New York. The win was also Rick Tocchet's 100th as an NHL head coach.

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> NUMBER TO KNOW <

EIGHT (8)

Nick Schmaltz has had a very fine track record against the Rangers, doubling up to record eight points (1G, 7A) in four career games played against New York.

He enters the night with a five-game point streak and as the Coyotes' leading scorer (3G, 5A). Should Schmaltz find the score sheet tonight against the Rangers, he would set a new career-high for points registered in consecutive games.

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> QUICK HITS <

  • The Coyotes' +31 first period shot differential is second in the NHL only to the Los Angeles Kings' +45.
  • Christian Dvorak ranks second in the NHL with a 68.2 FO%.
  • The Rangers are 36-18-8 against Pacific Division opponents since the start of the 2015-16 season, including a 22-6-4 mark at home.
  • Mika Zibanejad has been on the ice for 12 of the Rangers' 17 goals scored this season, Artemi Panarin 11 of 17.

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