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GDT Game 3: Coyotes host Golden Knights in duel in the desert

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The Coyotes are still looking for their first win as they face off against division rivals the Vegas Golden Knights.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes have a problem. They have been playing well, but they just can’t seem score. And unfortunately it doesn’t matter how much a team controls the pace of the game, or outshoots their opponents, you need to score more goals than the other team to win the game.

In their most recent game, the Coyotes faced off against the Boston Bruins and played extremely well. They outshot the Bruins 35-26, won 65% of their faceoffs, and had a perfect penalty kill. Unfortunately, a late first period goal from Brad Marchard would be all that was needed as Jaroslav Halak was perfect and shut out the Desert Dogs.

The key to success may be the Coyotes getting their power play going. Arizona hasn’t had too many power play opportunities, only one against the Anaheim Ducks and three against the Bruins. But when you are losing games by one goal a power play goal can be the difference-maker.

Tonight’s game may be the first chance to see first-round pick Barrett Hayton. Hayton has been getting time at Coyotes practices, including on the power play. With Lawson Crouse questionable tonight with an undisclosed upper body injury it may be the perfect time for Hayton to draw in. We may also get a chance to view goaltender Antti Raanta tonight as he is expected to play either tonight or Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche.

As to be expected, the Vegas Golden Knights have been solid this season. They were able to blow out the San Jose Sharks 4-1 and 5-1 for the first two games, although they would lose they are coming off a loss. This past Tuesday the Bruins continued their conquest of the Pacific Division, beating the Golden Knights 4-3.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Derek Stepan - Stepan has the lone Coyotes goal of the season. But that isn’t to say that he has played badly, the Stepan, Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel line has played extremely well. Hopefully we will see them get rewarded with more goals.

Vegas: Mark Stone - Brother of former Coyotes player Michael Stone, Mark has become one of the best players in the NHL. He has two goals and six assists through three games and has proven to be well worth the price it took to acquire him.

Injuries

Arizona: Lawson Crouse (questionable, upper body)

Vegas: William Karlsson (probable, undisclosed), Nate Schmidt (knee), Cody Eakin (questionable, upper body), Alex Tuch (upper body)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be at Gila River Arena at 7:00 pm Arizona time. It will be available on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.