Jan. 24, 2023 | 7:00 pm MST | Mullett Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
TV: Bally Sports Arizona Extra | Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Fresh off a 4-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, the Arizona Coyotes are set to host the Anaheim Ducks in the second game of a three-game homestand.
There’s likely to be a new face in Arizona’s lineup, as well, as forward Miloš Kelemen was called up from the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, and is expected to make his NHL debut tonight.
The 23-year-old Slovakian winger, who signed a two-year entry-level contract with the team in May, has nine goals and 11 assists in 39 AHL games this season. He participated in the Coyotes’ rookie development camp, the 2022 Rookie Faceoff Tournament, and preseason training camp before joining the Roadrunners last fall.
“I’m so excited to be here. It was my dream since I was a kid, so today my dream has come true, and I’m very happy,” Kelemen said. “It’s so exciting, a little bit nervous, but my teammates are helping me with everything and I’m just excited for tonight.”
Arizona head coach André Tourigny said Kelemen had the staff’s attention since turning in a solid performance at training camp.
“Since training camp, we’ve had him in mind, and we knew – and said it – he would have an opportunity at some point because at training camp he was really good,” Tourigny said. “Every time I talked to [Roadrunners head coach Steve Potvin] and his group, every time I read reports, Miloš is a work horse.
“He grinds, he’s consistent, he showed up at every game, so I’m glad for him that he has an opportunity here to play his first game in the NHL.”
Forward Clayton Keller notched his second hat trick of the season in Sunday’s win over the Golden Knights, and leads the team with 18 goals and 23 assists in 47 games this season. The 24-year-old alternate captain will represent the Coyotes while making his third appearance at the NHL All-Star Game next weekend.
Though starting lineups were not yet available, Connor Ingram is likely to get the nod tonight against Anaheim. He stopped 35-of-39 shots against the first-place Dallas Stars on Saturday, and has a .923 save percentage over his last six starts.
Player to Watch: Look for Keller to continue his hot hand following Sunday’s hat trick, especially considering he has performed historically well against both of Anaheim’s netminders. He has scored four goals against John Gibson, one goal (in three games) against Anthony Stolarz, and has 18 points in 23 career games against the Ducks.
ABOUT THE DUCKS
Anaheim’s 31 points are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the lowest total in the NHL, four points behind Arizona. Surprisingly the two teams have yet to play this season, as Tuesday marks the first of three games between the Ducks and Coyotes before they meet again in Anaheim on Saturday.
The third and final game is back in Tempe on April 8.
Anaheim most recently dropped a 6-3 decision to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, and is 3-6-1 over its last 10 games. Center Trevor Zegras leads the team in points (40) and goals (17), while winger Troy Terry’s 26 assists are tops.
Gibson has done the lion’s share of work between the pipes this season, posting an 8-20-4 record with a 4.11 goals-against average and .895 save percentage. Stolarz is 3-6-0 with a 4.04 GAA and .890 SV%. Those stats can be slightly deceptive, however, as Gibson and Stolarz boast career SV% marks of .913 and .910, respectively.
“They have a lot of individual skills, you know the names, and they have young, talented players,” Tourigny said. “They also have really good goaltenders.”
Defenseman Cam Fowler has had success against the Coyotes in the past, notching seven goals and 25 assists in 57 games against Arizona in his career. The 31-year-old blue liner has played 858 career games over 13 seasons, all with the Ducks.
Player to Watch: None other than Zegras, who is nearly averaging a point-per game in his young career against Arizona. The 21-year-old — who was drafted ninth overall by the Ducks in the 2019 NHL Draft — has three goals and four assists in eight games against the Coyotes, and has nine points over his last five games.