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Coyotes at Golden Knights preview

Teams tied atop Pacific Division; Fleury can reach milestone win with Vegas

by Danny Webster / Independent Correspondent

COYOTES (21-14-4) at GOLDEN KNIGHTS (20-15-6)



The Game

The Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes, who are tied for first place in the Pacific Division, meet at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

Vegas and Arizona each has 46 points. This is the third of five games between the teams this season; Arizona won 4-1 at Gila River Arena on Oct. 10, and Vegas won a 2-1 shootout at home on Nov. 29.

Marc-Andre Fleury will start for the Golden Knights and try to win his 454th game, which would tie him with Curtis Joseph for sixth place on the NHL all-time wins list.

The Golden Knights, who are 1-2-1 in their past four games, begin a seven-game homestand. Vegas is playing the second game of a back-to-back set; they lost 4-3 at the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

Antti Raanta is expected to start for the Coyotes, who have alternated wins and losses in their past 10 games (5-5-0). Their 13 road wins are tied for second-most in the League (St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche) behind the Washington Capitals (16). 


Players to watch

Coyotes forward Clayton Keller has six points (three goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.

Golden Knights forward Mark Stone has 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in his past nine games.


They said it

"You play the game for competition. At the start of training camp, if you said at Christmas time we'd be in first place, I think we'd be pretty happy, but you can only be happy for a little bit because it's hard to maintain it." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet

"We have a homestand here where if we can win a couple and push for the first spot in the Pacific, we're going to be in a good spot going forward when it matters in the end." -- Golden Knights center William Karlsson


Coyotes projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Christian Dvorak -- Phil Kessel

Clayton Keller -- Carl Soderberg -- Nick Schmaltz

Lawson Crouse -- Derek Stepan -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Michael Grabner -- Brad Richardson -- Conor Garland

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Jordan Oesterle -- Jordan Gross

Antti Raanta

Adin Hill

Scratched: Aaron Ness, Christian Fischer

Injured: Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg), Jason Demers (lower body), Darcy Kuemper (lower body)


Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith

Max Pacioretty -- Chandler Stephenson -- Mark Stone

Alex Tuch -- Paul Stastny -- Cody Glass

William Carrier -- Tomas Nosek -- Ryan Reaves

Brayden McNabb -- Nate Schmidt

Nicolas Hague -- Shea Theodore

Jon Merrill -- Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury

Malcolm Subban

Scratched: Nick Holden, Keegan Kolesar

Injured: Cody Eakin (upper body)


Status report

Vegas recalled Kolesar from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Saturday.


Stat pack

Schmaltz has seven assists during a four-game point streak. … Pacioretty has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his past nine games. … Smith has five points (one goal, four assists) during a four-game point streak.

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