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Pre-Game Capsule: Coyotes at Panthers

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GAME 75:

Coyotes (25-38-11) at Panthers (37-28-7)

Looking to rebound from a sloppy loss, Arizona will play the third game of a six-game road trip on Saturday night at Florida. 

WHERE: BB&T Center

WHEN: 4 p.m. (AZ time)

TV: FOX Sports Arizona

RADIO: KTAR News 92.3 FM

Video: Biz & Tyson Preview Panthers

KEY FACTS: 

• The Coyotes have posted a 4-2-1 mark in their past seven road games, including a 6-5 defeat at Carolina on Thursday.

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal after allowing six goals in a 6-5 loss at Carolina on Thursday. Antti Raanta is healthy, but the coaching staff opted to give Kuemper an immediate chance at redemption. Raanta likely will start on Monday at Tampa Bay.

"We want to get him right back at it," Assistant Coach Scott Allen said. "We're a one-day-at-a-time type of team, but you obviously have to look ahead at the schedule also. So there was some future planning that went into (the decision)."

Video: Allen on Goaltending vs. Panthers

Clayton Keller will enter tonight's game leading Arizona in goals (21) and points (57), and with a seven-game point streak. Keller is the first player in Coyotes history to produce three point streaks of seven games or more in a single season, and the first player in Coyotes/Jets history to do so since Teemu Selanne in 1995-96. 

Derek Stepan, who ranks second on the team with 51 points, has notched three consecutive multi-point games. 

• The Coyotes will play minus defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday's game at Carolina. Hjalmarsson returned to Arizona on Friday to be further evaluated and is considered day-to-day. Rookie Trevor Murphy will replace Hjalmarsson in the lineup and make his NHL debut. Murphy has played 190 games in the American Hockey League, including eight this season for the Tucson Roadrunners. Before that he played three seasons of junior hockey for the Windsor Spitfires. His coach back then was Florida Panthers Head Coach Bob Boughner.

Video: Murphy on First Callup

• Florida has won 18 of its past 25 games (18-6-1) and is three points behind New Jersey for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Aleksander Barkov leads the Panthers with 73 points and has notched 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) over Florida's 25 games since the All-Star break. He needs one goal to reach 100 for his NHL career. James Reimer, who has won six of his past seven starts, will tend Florida's net. Keith Yandle leads Florida's defensemen in points (49), assists (42) and power-play points (17), while leading the club in total ice time (1766:28). 

COYOTE BITES

• "These guys are fighting for a playoff spot. We need to make sure we're definitely not loose tonight. Our last start (at Carolina) was not good at all, unacceptable. So we need to make sure we're ready to go from the drop of the puck and treat it like a playoff game." -- Jakob Chychrun on playing Panthers

• "It's pretty surreal. I'm really happy to be here. I've been a pro for three years now, and I was over in Nashville and they have a pretty stacked lineup over there so I just didn't have a chance to get even a little call-up over there. Things worked out. It's been a long time coming and I'm pretty proud of myself ... The nerves are definitely there and it's a whole new set of nerves I've never felt before. But it's just another day and it's a job. I've got to come here ready to play." -- Trevor Murphy on making his NHL debut 

• "Right now we're giving up way too many odd-man situations and then we're panicking and it's helter skelter hockey from the blue line in. When it gets in the danger zone, we're doubling up, duplicating coverage, and you just can't have those type of things, especially at this time of year." -- Scott Allen on team's defense lately

Video: Jakob Chychrun: 'Pretty Special to be Here'

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