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Arizona Coyotes face the red-hot Ottawa Senators

The second game of the back-to-back is against a team that has been doing great lately

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes face a very tough test tonight, as they welcome a team playing well recently: the Ottawa Senators.  It also doesn't help that Arizona is coming from a hard-fought battle yesterday that went into overtime.

Matchup at a Glance

Ottawa Senators Arizona Coyotes
Points 29 (2nd Atlantic) 25 (3rd Pacific)
Goals For 70 (4th - T) 61 (12th - T)
Goals Against 61 (12th) 62 (11th)
Power Play 20.9% (7th) 15.3% (27th)
Penalty Kill 78.2% (21st) 81.6% (13th)
5v5 Corsi For 45.7% (29th) 48.1% (24th)
PDO 103.3 (2nd) 101.3 (5th)

View from Ottawa

For the Ottawa perspective, visit Silver Seven

The Senators are red hot. They play their last match of a three-game road trip in the Southwest tonight, after beating both Dallas and Colorado, scoring 12 goals in the process. The Sens are on a four-game winning streak, and have earned at least a point in their last seven matches. Since they were defeated 4-1 by the Coyotes in the Canadian Tire Centre on the 24th of October, they've only lost two games out of 14 without earning a point.

The key to Ottawa's success is their offense, with 70 goals (tied for 4th most). Erik Karlsson is the team's leader in points, with five goals and 19 assists. He is only behind John Klingberg of the Stars for the most points for a defenseman in the league. The leader in goals scored is (of course) Kyle Turris with 11.

The Senators are now sitting in the second place of the Atlantic Division with 29 points, behind the league leading Montreal Canadiens.

View from Arizona

The Coyotes earned a tough victory yesterday night against the Calgary Flames, edging them 2-1 in overtime. It wasn't the prettiest game Arizona has played, but a win is a win.

One of the best players of the season so far for Arizona, Martin Hanzal, scored the opening goal in the second period on a lucky bounce. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the game winning goal in OT. This also happened to be the 500th win of Dave Tippett's career as a head coach.

The Coyotes find themselves back in a playoff spot after earning those two points, reaching third place in the Pacific Division (only two points behind the leading Kings). They have won three of their last four games.

Keys to the Game

  • Great goaltending - The Senators are one of the best teams offensively, and are expected to make a lot of shots on goal. Even in the first meeting of the teams, Ottawa outshot Arizona 36-26 despite falling 4-1. Whoever starts at goal tonight will face a challenging test.
  • Be solid defensively - No matter how great Mike Smith or Anders Lindback can be, the Senators should not be given a lot of chances to score. The defense must play hard without causing penalties, and avoid turning the puck over.

  • Capitalize on the power play - The Coyotes are tied for the third most power play opportunities in the league (85), but have only scored in 13 of those occasions (15.3%, 27th). Good power plays tonight can be key to winning this game.

Players to Watch

Every time Kyle Turris is back in Gila River Arena, he has a lot of eyes on him. Players like Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan will also draw a lot of attention, thanks to their great performances so far. And of course there are also the two brothers pairs squaring off tonight: Michael Stone and Zbynek Michalek vs. Mark Stone and Milan Michalek. But you should also keep an eye on the rookie Shane Prince, who scored his first two NHL goals and had an assist in the last game against the Avalanche.

OEL had a bit of a slow start into the season but he's been great as of late, putting up a lot of points and being solid defensively. Let's see if he can carry last night's momentum when he scored the game winning goal in OT. Mikkel Boedker is also a player to watch, especially since he scored a hat-trick against the Senators earlier in the season.

Injury Report

While Patrick Wiercioch practiced yesterday and appears to be healthy, he won't play in tonight's matchup. The Senators will also be missing Andrew Hammond, Clarke MacArthur (both with a concussion) and Chris Phillips (back injury).

The Coyotes will yet again miss the services of Steve Downie (upper-body injury) and Joe Vitale (fractured orbital bone). Shane Doan is still questionable for tonight after missing the last two games.

Puck Drop

The game begins at 8 PM Arizona time. You can watch it on Fox Sports Arizona, or listen on ESPN Phoenix 620.