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Coyotes at Sabres preview

Arizona trying for sixth win in seven games; Buffalo aiming to tie its best home start to season

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

COYOTES (6-3-1) at SABRES (9-2-1)



The Game

The Buffalo Sabres can match their best home start to a season when they play the Arizona Coyotes at KeyBank Center on Monday.

The Sabres are 5-0-0 at home, and a win would equal their record set in 1975-76, when Buffalo started the season 6-0-0 at home.

The Coyotes are 5-1-0 in their past six games, outscoring opponents 24-15. Darcy Kuemper will start in goal; he's 4-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in his past five starts.


Players to watch

Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past eight games and leads Arizona with seven points (three goals, four assists) on the road.

Sabres center Jack Eichel has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past three games and 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in eight career games against the Coyotes.


They said it

"We can't play a loose game. … You have to be diligent and go through people. This team, if you're not going through people and you're not on your guy, that's why they score five, six a night. This team can make you look silly." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet on playing the Sabres

"It's more about keeping the rhythm and the pace in all of the lines and making sure nobody goes to sleep on the bench with too many minutes between shifts. I think it's really important in the game today and the pace of the game today. We're extremely comfortable with [offensive] zone and especially [defensive] zone starts with all four lines right now." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger


Coyotes projected lineup

Clayton Keller -- Derek Stepan -- Phil Kessel

Conor Garland -- Christian Dvorak -- Nick Schmaltz

Lawson Crouse -- Carl Soderberg -- Christian Fischer

Michael Grabner -- Barrett Hayton -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Ilya Lyubushkin -- Aaron Ness

Darcy Kuemper

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Kyle Capobianco, Eric Comrie

Injured: Niklas Hjalmarsson (lower body), Jordan Oesterle (upper body), Brad Richardson (upper body)


Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Marcus Johansson -- Vladimir Sobotka

Evan Rodrigues -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Henri Jokiharju

John Gilmour -- Colin Miller

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: William Borgen

Injured: Marco Scandella (lower body), Jimmy Vesey (upper body), Brandon Montour (hand), Zach Bogosian (hip)


Status report

Richardson is day to day and will miss his second straight game. ... Montour practiced Sunday for the first time since injuring his hand against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sept. 17. He is day to day. Scandella will be out 2-3 weeks and Vesey is week to week.


Stat pack

Grabner is two assists from 100 in the NHL and Stepan is three assists from 300 in the NHL. … Ristolainen is one point from 200 in the NHL.

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