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Preview: Coyotes at Golden Knights

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

GAME 56:

Coyotes (24-26-5) at Golden Knights (31-22-4) 

Looking to climb the Western Conference standings, Arizona will play its first of two games at Vegas this season on Tuesday night. 

WHERE: T-Mobile Arena | WHEN: 8 p.m. (AZ time) | TV: FOX Sports Arizona | RADIO: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

Tweet from @FOXSPORTSAZ: VEGAS BABY! @mattycoyotestv and @TysonNash are on the road with the @ArizonaCoyotes as they get set to take on the @GoldenKnights tonight on @FOXSPORTSAZ. #OurPack 📍: @TMobileArena ���: 7:30pm (Coyotes Live!)📺: FOX Sports Arizona and Plus💻: https://t.co/wnZewmsKBs (Stream) pic.twitter.com/KZSNRKGpIE

ABOUT THE 'YOTES: 

• The Coyotes will play Tuesday's game with most of the players' fathers watching as a group from a suite inside the arena as part of the annual "Dads Trip." The men sat in on the daily coaches' meeting at Gila River Arena on Monday morning, then watched the team practice. Later, they flew to Las Vegas with their sons on the team plane.

"It's fun to have them around," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said. "Some of our guys don't see their fathers for months at a time. Hopefully, having them at the game adds juice; their dad is here and they don't want to disappoint their dad with their effort."

Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson is thrilled to have his father, Patric, on the "Dads Trip" for the first time.

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: Vegas is better when you get to bring your best friends. #YotesDadsTrip pic.twitter.com/fiGgWEjWWO

"My dad has been there for me all of my life," Ekman-Larsson said. "So it's nice for him, and all the dads, to come here and see how we prepare for a game and what we do on the road. It's a lot of fun to see the dads interact as a group and trade stories about us and be proud of us."

Video: Tocchet Likes Intensity Vegas Crowd Creates

Derek Stepan said the "Dads Trip" is a nice way for the players to say thanks to their fathers for all they did for them on their way to the NHL.

"This is a really fun part of the year for us," Stepan said. "When we were younger, our dads would drag us around from rink to rink, so it's nice to be able to take them on a trip with us in the NHL and show them these nice buildings and kind of spoil them a little bit. It's a lot of fun for these guys. I know my dad has so much fun with this and he's excited to be a part of it."

• Arizona will enter the game with 53 points, six behind Minnesota, which holds the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference standings with 27 games to play.

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal seeking his first career victory vs. Vegas. He's 0-1-1 with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in three appearances vs. the Golden Knights. Kuemper last played on Saturday afternoon when he stopped 33 of 35 shots in a 3-2 victory over Dallas.

• Six players co-lead the Coyotes in goals scored with 11: They are Christian Fischer, Alex Galchenyuk, Conor Garland, Clayton Keller, Brad Richardson, and Stepan.

Video: Coyotes Want to Perform Well in Front of Dads

• Arizona will play minus center Mario Kempe, who suffered an upper-body injury vs. Dallas on Saturday. Kempe practiced briefly on Monday, but left the ice well before the practice ended. He is considered day-to-day. Josh Archibald will center the fourth line in place of Kempe, and rookie Michael Bunting will draw into the lineup for the first time since Dec. 27.

Nick Cousins has produced six assists over the past six games and ranks third among the team's forwards with 16 helpers. He dished out two vs. Dallas on Saturday to set a new career-high for points in one season (21).

Jordan Oesterle will enter the game riding a four-game point streak during which he's notched one goal and four assists. 

Kevin Connauton is expected to skate in his 300th NHL game tonight. He's scored three goals in seven career games vs. Vegas.

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: Here's who we're going with in Vegas. ��� pic.twitter.com/TsLdmHdXOw

ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS:

• Vegas, which has won two of its past three games after losing four games in a row, ranks third in the Pacific Division with 66 points, nine ahead of fourth-place Vancouver ... The Golden Knights have allowed just 156 goals, which ranks sixth-stingiest in the NHL ... Vegas has lost three consecutive home games after starting the season 16-4-3 at T-Mobile Arena ... Alex Tuch has produced a team-high 40 points in 49 games, including 24 assists ... Jonathan Marchessault leads the team with 19 goals and ranks eighth in the League with 207 shots ... Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury leads the NHL in starts (49), wins (29) and shutouts (six).

'YOTES QUOTES:

• "Obviously, we all scoreboard watch, but, for me, if we just win our games it keeps you in the race. That was a big win for us against Dallas, and now we're going into a tough building in Vegas that's very hostile. It's a great building to play in and we have to embrace that. It's a playoff style of game. I'm excited." -- Rick Tocchet

• "Vegas is another tough opponent for us. They're a fast, hard-working team and we've got to be ready to match that. They play in a very loud atmosphere and they feed off the energy the fans create in that building. We've got to be ready from the start because they always seem to have good starts." -- Darcy Kuemper

• "We're chasing these first two teams that we play this week, but we're trying not to look too far ahead. We're right there, but we're trailing just a little bit so we need to get every point that we can. If we string together some wins we could slide into that wildcard spot. That's the goal, so we're playing every game like it's playoff hockey right now. We really feel that we have a chance to make it. We're excited and we're pushing hard." -- Jakob Chychrun

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