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GDT Game 35: Coyotes look to sweep the Devils

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The Coyotes look to start another win streak as they host the New Jersey Devils.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

After a tough loss to the Calgary Flames, the Arizona Coyotes needed a big rebound game. Thankfully the Coyotes got that, with a huge 5-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. With another two points, the Coyotes are back on top of the Pacific Division, although they are only two points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and Flames.

In a reversal of their last game, the Coyotes started the night strong. Michael Grabner scored his seventh of the season less than three minutes in and just over two minutes later Clayton Keller would get his sixth. And with Brad Richardson getting his first of the season 15:04 in, the Coyotes would finish the first period up 3-0.

The Coyotes would keep up the pressure throughout the game. Nick Schmaltz would get his sixth in the second period, and Keller would get his second of the night at 17:53 in the third. By the end of the night, nine Coyotes players would register a point.

Thursday was also a huge night for former-Blackhawks. Jordan Oesterle, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Nick Schmaltz were all acquired by the Coyotes from the Blackhawks and they finished with a combined five points.

The New Jersey Devils went into the season with a lot of hype. Unfortunately, they have been unable to live up to that hype and are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. If not for the absolute trainwreck that is the Detroit Red Wings, they would be at the bottom of Eastern Conference.

After such a poor season it made sense that the Devils would attempt to turn things around with a coaching change. As everyone has been saying this season, it worked for the St. Louis Blues last season so why not give it a try? It hasn’t worked for New Jersey though, and they come into tonight’s game riding a seven-game losing streak, including a 3-1 loss last night to the Colorado Avalanche, and fans are starting to wonder if more changes are necessary.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Clayton Keller - With two goals against the Blackhawks, Keller has tied Schmaltz with a team-leading 23 points. Keller struggled to start the season but he currently has points in his last three games and 8 points in his last seven games.

New Jersey: Pavel Zacha - Zacha had an assist on the Devils’ lone goal last night, and is second on the team with 11 assists.

Injuries

Arizona: Jason Demers (knee), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)

New Jersey: Matt Tennyson (upper body), Connor Carrick (finger)

Although not injured Taylor Hall is also expected to not play as a trade is likely imminent before the December 19 league-wide roster freeze.

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game at Gila River Arena will begin at 6:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox Sports 910 AM.