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Senators at Coyotes preview

Arizona can match best start in six seasons; Ottawa looks to avoid third straight defeat

by Alan Robinson / Independent Correspondent

SENATORS (1-4-1) at COYOTES (3-2-1)



The Game 

The Arizona Coyotes will try to match their best start in six seasons when they host the Ottawa Senators at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

The Coyotes, who have not opened a season 4-2-1 since 2013-14, are eyeing their third straight win. Arizona has allowed an NHL-low 11 goals in six games, and given up two or fewer in five of them.

Goalie Antti Raanta will make his second start of the season for the Coyotes; he made 29 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 12.

The Senators look to avoid their third consecutive loss (0-1-1). Ottawa has been outscored 21-14 in six games this season.

Arizona is 6-1-1 in its past eight games against Ottawa.


Players to watch

Senators forward Vladislav Namestnikov has four points (two goals, two assists) in his first four games with Ottawa since being acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers.

Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a four-game point streak.


They said it

"This isn't the Coyotes of five years ago or four years ago. They're deep and they've got some high-end skill. … They're an up-and-coming team that has a lot of depth and doesn't give you much at all. You've got to take care of the puck, or you'll end up watching them most of the night." -- Senators coach D.J. Smith

"We're doing a great job of breaking the puck out playing some really high-end teams here lately, and I think our `D' has done a great job shorthanded. We've had great goaltending, and we're not giving teams too much." -- Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz


Senators projected lines

Brady Tkachuk -- Colin White -- Vladislav Namestnikov

Tyler Ennis -- Chris Tierney -- Connor Brown

Nick Paul -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Anthony Duclair

Bobby Ryan -- Artem Anisimov -- Scott Sabourin

Thomas Chabot -- Nikita Zaitsev

Erik Brannstrom -- Ron Hainsey

Mark Borowiecki -- Dylan DeMelo

Craig Anderson

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Mikkel Boedker, Jordan Szwarz

Injured: None


Coyotes projected lines

Clayton Keller -- Derek Stepan -- Phil Kessel

Conor Garland -- Christian Dvorak -- Nick Schmaltz

Lawson Crouse -- Carl Soderberg -- Christian Fischer

Michael Grabner - - Brad Richardson -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Alex Goligoski

Kyle Capobianco -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Ilya Lyubushkin

Antti Raanta

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Barrett Hayton, Eric Comrie, Aaron Ness

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


Status report

Anisimov will be a game-time decision after missing two games with a lower-body injury. … Oesterle is day to day after being struck in the head by a puck during a 5-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. An MRI revealed no structural damage. Ness was recalled from Tucson of the American Hockey League on Saturday.


Stat pack

Kessel has 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) in 63 games against Ottawa. … Arizona is 5-for-8 on the power-play in its past two games. … Ryan has 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 41 games against the Coyotes. … Ottawa is 0-for-21 on the power play this season.

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