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Pre-Game Capsule: Coyotes vs. Sabres

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

GAME 14:

Coyotes (1-11-1) vs. Sabres (3-7-2)

Arizona will begin a two-game homestand with a matchup vs. the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

WHERE: Gila River Arena

WHEN: 7 p.m. (AZ time)

TV: FOX Sports Arizona 



• The Coyotes have scored the first goal in nine of their 13 games this season. No other NHL team has scored first more.

Antti Raanta will start in goal for the Coyotes for the first time since Oct. 12. Raanta has spent the past three weeks recovering from a lower-body injury that has limited him to just three games this season. Scott Wedgewood, who started the past two games, will serve as Raanta's backup. Louis Domingue, whom Arizona recalled from the American Hockey League in a "paper move" only on Wednesday, is not with the team. 

Video: Raanta on Return to Game Action

• Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who suffered an upper-body injury in the third period on Monday at Philadelphia, has been placed on the injured-reserve list. To take his place on the roster, the Coyotes on Wednesday recalled defenseman Dakota Mermis from the AHL. Mermis, and undrafted blueliner, will make his NHL debut vs. the Sabres. He'll wear sweater No. 43 and be paired with veteran Alex Goligoski.

Video: Dakota Mermis on NHL Debut

• Rookie Clayton Keller will enter the game with a career-high seven-game point streak. Keller has notched six goals and five assists during that stretch, and is leading the team and all NHL rookies in goals (nine), shots (49) and points (15). Look for Keller to skate on the top line with center Derek Stepan and winger Brendan Perlini. 

Video: Keller on Rookie of the Month

• Max Domi will enter the game needing just one point to reach 100 points for his NHL career. Should he notch a point tonight, he would become the fastest player to reach 100 NHL points as a member of the Coyotes. Domi has played 153 NHL games.

• Anthony Duclair is expected to be back in the lineup after missing the past two games as a healthy scratch.

• Buffalo is 10-3-1 in its past 14 games against Arizona, including a 5-2-1 record since the beginning of the 2013-14 season. The Sabres are led by forward Jack Eichel, who has produced eight points (three goals, five assists) in four career games against the Coyotes. 

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: Tonight's projected lineup. #BUFvsARI


• "It's been a long three weeks, and when the team hasn't won and you have to watch the game from the press box, it's been really frustrating. But we wanted to make sure that everything is good to go and wanted to see that everything feels good. Everything feels good right now, and it felt good being on the ice with the team ... It's awesome. I kind of have like a fresh start for the season right now. I'll just try to do my best, keep it simple, and try to help the team to win the game." -- Antti Raanta on making his first start in three weeks

• "It's been a long time coming for me and I just want to enjoy every step of it. I try to pride myself on being a hard player to play against. I may be a little undersized, but I try to make up for that in grit and other ways." -- Dakota Mermis on making his NHL debut

• "It's good to be home. We've got to take advantage of the home games. This is a game that we really want to come out and be strong against. Antti will play. We're excited to have him back. It's been a long time." -- Rick Tocchet 

Video: Tocchet on Raanta, Keller

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