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Canadiens at Coyotes preview

Arizona sets sights on best start since 2000-01; Cousins to face former team for Montreal

by Alan Robinson / Independent Correspondent

CANADIENS (5-4-2) at COYOTES (7-3-1)

10 p.m. ET; FS-A PLUS, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV


The Game 

The Arizona Coyotes try to extend their best start in 19 years when they host the Montreal Canadiens at Gila River Arena on Wednesday.

The Coyotes will be going for their third straight win and eighth in 10 games (7-1-1) after winning three of four on a four-game Eastern road trip. They have 15 points after 11 games, the most they've had since they had 18 points in 2000-01 (8-1 with two ties).

Arizona had 12 points (6-5-0) after 11 games last season and had one point (0-10-1) in 2017-18, Rick Tocchet's first season as the Coyotes coach.

Canadiens forward Nick Cousins will play his first game against his former team; he signed a one-year contract with Montreal on Oct. 5.

Montreal is 1-2-0 in its past three games after going 3-1-0 in its previous four games.


Players to watch

Canadiens goalie Carey Price is 11-1-0 with a 1.91 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and one shutout in 12 games against Arizona.

Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past nine games.


They said it

"I've been very fortunate to play in this organization as long as I have, with a team that's really embraced me, and it's made it that much more enjoyable. It's been a fun 500 games - 499 so far - and hopefully there's more to come." -- Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher, who will play in his 500th NHL game

"We didn't play our best hockey on the trip, so to get three of four wins is pretty good. We want to come back home and play like we were at the beginning of the season and get some more wins." -- Coyotes forward Conor Garland


Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas Tatar -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Jonathan Drouin -- Max Domi -- Joel Armia

Artturi Lehkonen -- Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- Paul Byron

Nick Cousins -- Nate Thompson -- Nick Suzuki

Victor Mete -- Shea Weber

Ben Chiarot -- Jeff Petry

Mike Reilly -- Cale Fleury

Carey Price

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Brett Kulak, Christian Folin, Jordan Weal

Injured: None


Coyotes projected lineup

Clayton Keller -- Christian Dvorak -- Phil Kessel

Conor Garland -- Nick Schmaltz -- Barrett Hayton

Lawson Crouse -- Carl Soderberg -- Christian Fischer

Michael Grabner -- Derek Stepan -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Aaron Ness -- Ilya Lyubushkin

Antti Raanta

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Kyle Capobianco, Eric Comrie

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


Status report

Richardson, who has missed the past two games, and Oesterle, out for five games, each is close to returning, Tocchet said.


Stat pack

Gallagher has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past seven games. … Armia has four points (three goals, one assist) during a three-game goal and point streak. … Raanta is 4-0-0 with a 2.44 GAA and .927 save percentage in six games against Montreal. … Kessel has 56 points (21 goals, 35 assists) in 61 games against the Canadiens. 

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