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GDT Game 40: Coyotes back in action in Sin City

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The Christmas break is over with the Coyotes on the road facing off against division rivals the Golden Knights.

Arizona Coyotes v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Game Preview

Tonight is a massive game for the Arizona Coyotes. After a rough start, the Vegas Golden Knights have made their way up the standings and are currently tied with the Coyotes having played two more games. There is still a lot of hockey to be played this season, but the Coyotes can’t afford to give away points to a division rival.

With Darcy Kuemper sidelined with a lower-body injury, Antti Raanta started both games of the Coyotes’ recent back-to-back. Raanta gave the Coyotes every chance to win in their last game against the Nashville Predators, making 38 saves in the Coyotes’ 3-2 loss.

Arizona has been excellent on the road this season. They are 13-5-3 in away games, a far cry from their 8-9-1 home record. It’s tough to say what the Coyotes do differently on the road, but hopefully, they will keep doing it tonight.

The Coyotes have to worry about more than just the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division. The Calgary Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 last night and are now one point behind the Coyotes and Golden Knights. If the Oilers had won that game they would have been tied with the Coyotes while having played two more games.

The Golden Knights played last against the Anaheim Ducks and lost 4-3. The Golden Knights to the initial lead less than five minutes into the second period, but the Ducks came back with four unanswered goals. Vegas didn’t go down easy though, with Nate Schmidt getting two goals in the final two minutes of the game.

Vegas has had a solid month of December. They are 7-4-2 on the month and are 2-1-1 against Pacific Division teams in that time.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Jakob Chychrun - Chychrun scored his tenth goal of the season against the Predators as he continues to set a career-high. He is currently fifth in defensemen in goals scored.

Vegas: Nate Schmidt - Schmidt had two goals against the Ducks, both in the final two minutes of the game. He isn’t a major source of offense for the Golden Knights, but he has three points in his last two games.

Injuries

Arizona: Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)

Vegas: Cody Eakin (head)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game is at 8:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox Sports 910 AM.