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Preview: Coyotes vs. Panthers

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

GAME 63:

Coyotes (29-28-5) vs. Panthers (28-25-8) 

Arizona will try to stretch its winning streak to four games when it skates vs. Florida on Tuesday night in Glendale.

WHERE: Gila River Arena | WHEN: 7 p.m. (AZ time) | TV: FOX Sports Arizona | RADIO: AZ Sports 98.7 FM

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: Tonight���s projected lineup:


• Arizona will enter the game with 63 points, three behind Minnesota for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference standings, with 20 games to play.

Christian Dvorak, who has missed the entire season because of an upper-body injury, will make his season debut. The Coyotes recalled Dvorak from the American Hockey League on Monday after he played two games in that league on a conditioning stint. Dvorak centered a line with wingers Conor Garland and Richard Panik at Monday's practice. Dvorak has notched 70 points (30 goals, 40 assists) in 156 NHL games, all with the Coyotes, who drafted him 58th overall in 2014.

"'Dvo' will be in tonight," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said after Tuesday's morning skate. "I have to give him a lot of credit; a lot of bag skates, workouts. We need him. The center position is an important position for us." 

Video: Tocchet Says Dvorak Will Make Season Debut

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal looking to extend his winning streak to five games. He stopped 121 of 126 shots in consecutive victories over Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg. That's a .960 save percentage.  

"The team as a whole has been really committed to the defensive side of the puck and has been willing to pay the price to do what it takes to win," Kuemper said. "Everyone is just doing their job right now, and that's all I'm trying to do, too."

Lawson Crouse has scored a goal in two straight games, and Derek Stepan, Vinnie Hinostroza and Josh Archibald all will enter the game riding three-game point streaks. 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson needs one point to tie Dave Babych for 13th place on the franchise's list for most points. Babych notched 321 in 390 games; Ekman-Larsson has notched 320 in 637 games. 

• The Coyotes are 6-1-1 vs. Florida at home since the start of the 2005-06 season, and they outscored the Panthers, 25-14, in those eight games.


• Florida has won five of its past six games, including a 4-3 overtime victory at Colorado on Monday night, in which goalie Roberto Luongo earned his 485th win, third most in NHL history ... The Panthers rank third in the NHL in power-play percentage at 26.3, but they allow 3.3 goals per game, which ranks fifth worst in the League ... Aleksander Barkov leads Florida with 65 points and ranks first on the team in face-off winning percentage at 53.9 ... Mike Hoffman has scored a team-high 27 goals ... Keith Yandle, who leads NHL defensemen with seven power-play goals and 30 power-play points, played his 776th consecutive regular-season game on Monday to tie Craig Ramsay for the fifth-longest streak in NHL history ... Look for James Reimer to start in goal after Luongo played Monday. Reimer is 5-3-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in eight appearances vs. the Coyotes.


• "We've got to crank it back up. To be a good team, you've got to be consistent in your emotions. I know everyone was happy about (beating Winnipeg), but now we're playing Florida, another good hockey team, and the stakes are high." -- Rick Tocchet

• "There's only 20 games left and we all understand what's at stake. There's a lot of teams in the hunt right now and we need every point we can get. But we can't worry about the other teams in the race, we have to worry just about us and sprint to the finish." -- Conor Garland

• "We know this is a big homestand for us, and we started it with a nice win over a very good Winnipeg team on Sunday. We've just got to keep taking care of business. We're focused on playing Florida and we'll be ready to go." -- Darcy Kuemper

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