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Game #9 Preview: Arizona at New York [Islanders]

Kuemper starts; Coyotes, Islanders each enter with four-game win streaks

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #9: ARIZONA (5-2-1) AT NEW YORK [ISLANDERS] (5-3-0)

4:00 PM PST - Nassau Coliseum | Uniondale, New York

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

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Wes McCauley #4, Corey Syvret #42

Linesmen: Ryan Gibbons #58, James Tobias #61

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> ARIZONA AT NEW YORK [ISLANDERS] <

The Coyotes continue their four-game trip through New York tonight in Uniondale, set to take on the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum in the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season.

The Islanders will make their lone visit to Gila River Arena on February 17.

On a roll! It's a battle between four-game win streaks tonight; both the Coyotes and Islanders come into the contest having won four straight games. New York is coming off a 3-2 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Three of the Islanders' four wins during their current streak have come after regulation.

The Coyotes, following their 3-2 overtime win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, practiced at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday and held an optional pregame skate on Thursday.

Head coach Rick Tocchet addressed the parallels between the teams this morning.

"Yes, just stay consistent," he said of tonight's outlook. "We're playing a team that's similar to us, they don't get antsy, they can play a 2-1 game very comfortably - that's Barry Trotz. Their team has stuck with their system for a long time, and I think that's something we've been doing better at the last year or so."

Darcy Kuemper will make his seventh start of the season tonight. He ranks second in SV% (.944) and third in GAA (1.68) among qualified goaltenders. Kuemper has allowed two goals or less in 13 straight starts dating back to March 23 of last season. The second start of that streak came against the Islanders on March 24 of last season, a 24-save effort in a 2-0 Coyotes loss.

No changes are expected to be made to the lineup the Coyotes used Tuesday against the Rangers.

Semyon Varalamov was the first goaltender off the ice for the Islanders at New York's morning skate, which tabs him as the presumed starter. Varlamov is 2-2-0 this season with a 2.55 GAA and a .923 SV%.

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> THREE THINGS <

DEFENSIVE IDENTITY: Magnificent results have materialized from the Coyotes' systematic defensive approach so far this season. As is stands through the team's first eight games, they have allowed the fewest goals (15) of any team and are atop the NHL in goals-against per game, keeping opponents to a lowly average of 1.88. The Islanders are averaging 2.50 goals per game, which ranks 24th in the league.

MAKING A POINT: The Coyotes have been a model of consistency of late, and that has shown statistically through personal production from a handful of names on the roster. Nick Schmaltz enters the night with a career-long six-game point streak, while Carl Soderberg comes into the evening with a four-game point streak, which matches a career-high. Three players: Alex Goligoski , Clayton Keller , and Lawson Crouse , are currently riding three-game point streaks.

ON THE ISLAND: While the Coyotes were able to put an end to their Winnipeg woes by beating the Jets' franchise on the road for the first time since 2010, the Coyotes will look to do the same tonight against the Islanders. Arizona has not won a road game against the Islanders since December 18, 2010, a 4-3 shootout win. Since then, the Coyotes are 0-6-0 when playing the Islanders as visitors. The Islanders are 3-2-0 on home ice this season.

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> LAST TIME AROUND <

March 24, 2019 - Arizona (0) at New York [Islanders] (2)

Despite putting up 31 shots, the Coyotes were unable to find the back of the net during their previous meeting with the Islanders on March 24 of last season, a 2-0 loss at Nassau Coliseum.

Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves on 26 Islanders shots faced in what was his 17th consecutive start at the time.

Arizona finished with an 0-2-0 record against the Islanders in 2018-19.

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> NUMBER TO KNOW <

SEVEN (7)

An uptick in power play production has been a major factor in the Coyotes' success during the team's current four-game win streak; they have scored seven power play goals during that span (7-for-18) after failing to score during any of their nine man advantage opportunities during their first four games of the season.

Alex Goligoski's right point drive on Tuesday night came on the man advantage.

Now 7-for-27 overall, the Coyotes rank seventh in the NHL with a 25.9% success rate.

Seven players have recorded multiple power play points during the previous four games.

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> QUICK HITS <

  • Phil Kessel has produced at a point-per-game pace against the Islanders during his 14-year career, totaling 49 points (22G, 27A) in 49 games played against New York.
  • Michael Grabner played five seasons with the Islanders, appearing in 297 games and registering 144 points (90G, 54A).
  • The Coyotes have not beaten the Islanders in regulation as visitors since October 29, 2002.
  • The Islanders have earned points in six straight games against the Coyotes (4-0-2) dating back to December of 2015.

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