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Preview: Coyotes vs. Sabres

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

GAME 4:

Coyotes (1-2-0) vs. Sabres (2-2-0)

Again wearing their black retro uniforms, Arizona will attempt to win its first home game of the season when it hosts Buffalo in Glendale on Saturday night. 

WHERE: Gila River Arena | WHEN: 6 p.m. (AZ time) | TV: FOX Sports ArizonaRADIO: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: Tonight's projected lineup. #OurPack pic.twitter.com/9AQkIjoFMG

ABOUT THE 'YOTES: 

• Arizona is averaging 36.7 shots per game, which ranks fourth in the NHL. At the other end of the ice, the Coyotes are allowing just 23.3 shots per game; only the New Jersey Devils are stingier (20.0).

Antti Raanta is expected to start in goal. Raanta stopped 64 of 70 shots in the first three games of the season and his 1.96 goals-against average ranks seventh among goalies who have started at least three games.

• Based off Friday's practice, it appears the Coyotes will reunite center Derek Stepan and wingers Clayton Keller and Richard Panik as the top line. Keller played center in the first three games but produced just one assist.

• Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson is averaging 25:41 of ice time per game. Only six other NHL players, including Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (25:59), is skating more. 

Dylan Strome is leading the Coyotes and ranks second in the NHL in face-off winning percentage at 69.2. Strome has won 27 of 39 draws.

RELATED CONTENT: Strome Shining in Face-Off Circles

• Michael Grabner has scored 10 of his 158 career goals vs. Buffalo.  

Josh Archibald, who missed the first three games because of an upper-body injury, has been skating with teammates this week and is close to returning to the lineup.

"It will probably be a game-time (decision) with him, but he probably needs a couple more practices," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said Friday. "He's getting better."

• The Coyotes have out-shot opponents 44-14 in the third period so far this season. The +30 differential is the highest for any NHL team in any period this season.

• Former defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who ranks seventh on the Coyotes/Jets franchise list for games played with 612, will drop the ceremonial first puck vs. Buffalo.

Video: Tocchet on Archibald, Sabres

ABOUT THE SABRES:

• Tonight's game is the first of a five-game Pacific Division road trip for Buffalo that will take them to Glendale, Las Vegas, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim ... The Sabres are 12-3-1 against Arizona in the past 16 games and have outscored the Coyotes, 53-34, in those contests ... Captain Jack Eichel has produced nine points (three goals, six assists) in six career games against Arizona ... With his assist on Oct. 11 vs. Colorado, rookie Rasmus Dahlin, whom Buffalo selected with the first overall pick in this year's NHL Draft, became the second-youngest player (18 years, 175 days) in franchise history to record a point, behind only Pierre Turgeon (18 years, 44 days on Oct. 11, 1987 vs. Washington) ... Goalie Carter Hutton is 2-2-1 with a 3.49 goals-against average and a .875 save percentage in six career games vs. the Coyotes ... Head Coach Phil Housley played 232 games for the Coyotes/Jets franchise from 1990-93, and holds the franchise record for points in a season by a defenseman (97 in 1992-93).

'YOTES QUOTES:

• "They lost 6-1 the other night to Colorado at home and whenever a team gets beat like that they're obviously going to come out for the next game really hard ... They have a whole new look to their team compared to last year. They made a lot of good additions with Jeff Skinner and Rasmus Dahlin, and they have Jack Eichel so we're expecting a tough game." -- Christian Fischer

• "We don't really have a natural goal scorer (with Alex Galchenyuk injured). In the meantime, it's by committee. We have to have that approach. The details in our defensive system, our transition game and trying to get teams on their toes by our speed is our recipe. ... That's the only way for us to be successful in this league." -- Rick Tocchet

•  "The last three games I thought we played the right way for the majority of each game. We had that little lull in Dallas, but the last two games I think we played wire to wire the right way and we didn't get down on ourselves ... Our forwards did a great job, Antti was big when he needed to be and I thought the 'D' were moving the puck well." -- Jason Demers 

Video: 'Matter of Bearing Down on Chances'

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