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Let the Roadtrip Begin: Arizona Coyotes vs Ottawa Senators

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The Arizona Coyotes head on the road for the first time this year as they face off against the Ottawa Senators.

After a win at home to start the season, the Arizona Coyotes will be heading back East on a long road trip, starting in Canada’s capital against the Ottawa Senators.

Last season the Coyotes won both of their games against the Senators, scoring four goals each game. Both those games happened early in the season too: one in October and one in November. The Desert Dogs hope to repeat history this year.

View from Arizona

The Coyotes youth experiment paid off in their first real outing. Although veterans Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal, and Brad Richardson scored the goals against the Philadelphia Flyers, but rookies Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun both registered points in the Yotes' 4-3 overtime win.  Combined with a solid showing by Laurent Dauphin, fans of the rookies had a lot to be excited about.

The big question for the Coyotes this season is how long the experiment will work. While teams don’t make it into the playoffs in the first month of the season, they can definitely hurt their chances with a weak start. An opening win is a good start, but the Coyotes will be tested immediately with a six game road trip to the Northeast.

View from Ottawa

For more on the Ottawa Senators, check out Silver Seven.

Like the Coyotes, the Senators changed their front office this past offseason, but for less pleasant reasons. Bryan Murray stepped down due to health concerns, with Pierre Dorion taking over as GM. Dorion decided to change the coaching staff by bringing in Guy Boucher after the team failed to get Bruce Boudreau.

Unlike the Coyotes though, the Senators are going to be playing their fourth game of the season and the second in a back to back. They started their season by beating Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs in Matthews’ historic four goal debut, and subsequently won against Montreal in the shootout. The Senators were humiliated 5-1 in Detroit and don't play again until Saturday, so there's no reason for Ottawa to let up tonight.

Three Questions

1. Can the rookies keep it up? Dvorak and Chychrun both had solid games against Philadelphia, but Lawson Crouse was less so. Rookies are notoriously difficult to predict, so it will be interesting to see if the kids can keep it up. And of course, does Dylan Strome draw in tonight?

2. Will the special teams keep it up? Philadelphia gave the Yotes plenty of chances on the power play and they were able to convert on one occasion, score a short handed goal, and score the winner on a delayed penalty. At the same time, the Coyotes were perfect on the penalty kill, killing all four Flyers power plays. Of course the Yotes will eventually allow a power play goal, or not score one in a game, but will tonight be the night?

3. Can the Coyotes keep a lead this time? The Coyotes played a solid first period against Philly and were up 3-1 early in the second period. Then the Flyers scored two in the next period to tie up the game and force overtime. If the Yotes get that kinda lead again will they be able to keep it from slipping away?

Players to Watch

Arizona: Jakob Chychrun - Of all of the Coyotes’ rookies, Chychrun may have had the stand out performance. While he made a few defensive mistakes, he impressed with his speed and skill.

Ottawa: Erik Karlsson - The former Norris winner was a finalist again this year and is probably the best example of an offensive defenseman in the NHL right now. While he’s more fun to watch when he’s not playing against your team, he will likely do something impressive.

Injury Report

For the Coyotes Michael Stone, Dave Bolland, and Jamie McGinn are all on injured reserve. Jarred Tinordi still has games left on his suspension and will not be able to come back until the November 29th against the Sharks. Kevin Connauton missed the home opening but could return for tonight’s game. Zbynek Michalek's demotion to the AHL creates space for someone to come off IR.

Clarke MacArthur is out indefinitely with a concussion and there is no timetable when he will return to the Senators.

Puck Drop

Thanks to time zones, tonight’s game will start at 4:30 pm Arizona time and will be available on Fox Sports Arizona and on the radio at ESPN Phoenix 620.