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Coyotes at Ducks preview

Kessel set to make debut with Arizona; Eakins will coach first game for Anaheim

by Dan Arritt / Independent Correspondent

COYOTES (0-0-0) at DUCKS (0-0-0)



The Game

Phil Kessel will make his Arizona Coyotes debut against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday at Honda Center in the season opener for both teams.

Kessel, a forward who turned 32 on Wednesday, won two Stanley Cup championships in four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins before he was traded to Arizona on June 29. Kessel averaged 29.7 goals the past 11 seasons and has not missed a game in the past nine seasons. The Coyotes haven't qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012.

Dallas Eakins will make his debut as coach of the Ducks. He was hired on June 16 after coaching Anaheim's American Hockey League affiliate in San Diego the past four seasons. The Ducks missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season for the first time since 2012.


Players to watch

Coyotes forward Carl Soderberg will make his Arizona debut on a line with Nick Schmaltz and Conor Garland. Soderberg scored an NHL career-high 23 goals with the Colorado Avalanche last season.

Anaheim forward Jakob Silfverberg scored an NHL career-high 24 goals with the Ducks last season. Silfverberg, who played on Team Sweden with Soderberg at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, had five points (two goals, three assists) in five games against the Coyotes last season.


They said it

"Today's not the day to inundate [the players] with more info. They've got to go play. Do it aggressively and do it with conviction. That's all we ask." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet

"I'm excited to play games you're actually going to get points for, but in the same breath I'm eerily calm," -- Ducks coach Dallas Eakins


Coyotes projected lineup

Clayton Keller -- Derek Stepan -- Phil Kessel

Michael Grabner -- Brad Richardson -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Lawson Crouse -- Christian Dvorak -- Christian Fischer  

Carl Soderberg -- Nick Schmaltz -- Conor Garland

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Alex Goligoski -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Jakob Chychrun -- Jordan Oesterle  

Darcy Kuemper

Adin Hill

Scratched: Kyle Capobianco, Barrett Hayton, Eric Comrie

Injured: Antti Raanta (conditioning)


Ducks projected lineup

Max Comtois -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Troy Terry  

Rickard Rakell -- Isac Lundestrom -- Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie -- Adam Henrique -- Derek Grant

Max Jones -- Devin Shore -- Carter Rowney

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson  

Brendan Guhle -- Cam Fowler  

Jacob Larsson -- Michael Del Zotto  

John Gibson

Ryan Miller

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Nicolas Deslauriers

Injured: Ondrej Kase (upper body), Sam Steel (lower body)


Status report

Fischer and Capobianco were recalled from Tucson of the AHL on Wednesday. ... Raanta was sent back to Arizona for conditioning after missing part of training camp with a lower-body injury. Hill was recalled to back up Kuemper.


Stat pack

Kessel will play in his 775th consecutive regular-season game, one shy of Craig Ramsay for the seventh-longest streak in NHL history. ... Getzlaf has 662 assists, third among active players behind Sidney Crosby of the Penguins (770) and Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks (1,065).

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