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Arizona Coyotes look to start new era with win against Anaheim Ducks

Tonight is the first game of 82. Let the games begin.

NHL: Preseason-Arizona Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the game we’ve all been waiting for! The first Coyotes game of the season.

Today the Coyotes open their season against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim.

Let us take a look at last year’s stats before we jump into the preview.

Game 1 Arizona At Anaheim

Stats Arizona Coyotes Anaheim Ducks
Stats Arizona Coyotes Anaheim Ducks
Points 70 points (6th Pacific) 105 Points (1st Pacific)
Goals For 132 (23rd) 145 (17th)
Goals Against 168 (27th) 128 (2nd)
Power Play 16.2% (26th) 18.7% (17th)
Penalty Kill 77.3% (27th) 84.7% (4th)
5v5 Corsi For % 45.06 (30th) 49.67 (19th)
Shooting % 7.28% (21st) 7.77% (15th)
PDO 99.72 (17th) 100.75 (10th)

View From Anaheim

For more information on Ducks and their preview go to Anaheim Calling

The Anaheim Ducks didn’t have a big free agency this summer, even after losing to the Predators in the Western Conference Final. They did lose Shea Theodore, one of their young defenders in the expansion draft, but they still have the likes of Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler on their blueline.

Up front, it is the same cast of characters as the Duck’s get older. They do have two younger forwards as the core starts to age rapidly.

John Gibson has taken over in net for them this year, and his back up is Ryan Miller, known Coyote killer.

View From Arizona

The Coyotes first game of the year is going to be a litmus test for the rest of their season. The Coyotes are coming off of massive changes over the summer. They have a new head coach, starting goalie, first line center and a very deep top four defensively.

The kids are ready, Clayton Keller and Dylan Strome are both going to see action in this first game. Keller will most likely be on the top line with Max Domi and Derek Stepan.

The defense has been overhauled greatly this off-season. The additions of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers solidify the top four alongside Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Goligoski. The Coyotes have a stopgap in place while Jakob Chychrun rehabs from knee surgery.

Antti Raanta and Louis Domingue are the goalies of choice at the moment. Raanta will most likely start the game tonight and be back in net on Saturday again the Golden Knights.

Three Questions

Can the Kids keep up? The Kids (anyone from the last three draft classes) should be alright. Clayton Keller is hard to catch and even harder to get off of the puck. Dylan Strome may still have a few quirks to his game but he should be sheltered fairly well.

Does OEL look like OEL again? During practice and the only preseason game he played in, the answer is yes. Now that we know what happened last season, we should expect a huge season from him this year.

Win or lose, did the team look better than last season? This can only be answered by the recapper. I think they will, but we won’t know till the final buzzer.

Players to Watch

Arizona- Clayton Keller: No pressure but its time to see what the kid can do in an offensively minded system.

Anaheim- Ondrej Kase: A younger player who played 51 games with the Ducks last year, it should be interesting to see how he does going into his rookie season.

Injury Report

Arizona Coyotes: Jakob Chychrun, Knee Surgery, no timetable for return. Antti Raanta has been nursing a lower-body injury but will most likely return tonight. Zac Rinaldo is serving the first of the five games he was suspended for in March. He can return against the Stars, October 17th.

Anaheim Ducks: Long List for the Ducks when it comes to injuries. Both Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm are out due to shoulder surgery in the offseason. Ryan Kesler is out until December due to hip surgery. Ryan Miller, Ryan Getzlaf, and Kevin Bieksa are day to day with nagging injuries and Jared Boll is on IR due to a back injury.

Puck Drop

Puck drops at 7:00 pm at the Honda Center in Anaheim. You can watch it live on Fox Sports Arizona and the Fox Sports Go App. You can catch the radio call on ESPN 620AM.