Dallas, Texas - Looking to build off momentum from the second half of last season and a successful preseason, Arizona will begin the 2018-19 campaign with a road game in Dallas on Thursday night.
American Airlines Center - 5:30 p.m. (AZ time) - TV:FOX Sports Arizona - RADIO: ESPN 620 AM
• The Coyotes are 12-8-1 in season openers since moving from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996.
• Arizona posted a 4-2-1 record in the preseason and ranked second in the NHL in power-play percentage at 40.0 percent (10 for 25). Clayton Keller led the team in scoring with seven points (one goal, six assists) in four games. Keller, of course, led the team in scoring last season (65 points) as a rookie and finished third in the voting for the Calder Trophy. Look for Keller to start the season playing center instead of winger because of injuries to multiple centers.
• Oliver Ekman-Larsson will skate in his first game as captain of the Coyotes. He's just the fourth player to be named team captain since the franchise moved from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996. Keith Tkachuk, Teppo Numminen and Shane Doan are the others. Ekman-Larsson will enter the game having notched at least one point in five consecutive Opening Night games.
• Antti Raanta will start in goal to begin his second season with Arizona. Despite battling multiple injuries, Raanta posted a 21-17-6 record in 2017-18. His .930 save percentage and 2.24 goals-against average both ranked tied for second among NHL goalies.
• Forwards Michael Grabner and Vinnie Hinostroza, and defenseman Jordan Oesterle are expected to make their debuts with the Coyotes in the season opener. Grabner, who is coming off back-to-back 27-goal seasons, signed with Arizona as an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Hinostroza and Oesterle were acquired in an off-season trade with Chicago.
• 2018 first-round draft pick Barrett Hayton is on the roster, for now, but is not expected to play in the season opener. Should he get into a game before being reassigned to junior hockey, Hayton (18 years, 118 days) would become the youngest player to skate in a game in franchise history, surpassing Ryan Stewart (18 years, 154 days).
• The Coyotes will begin the season with four players on the injured-reserve list: forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Christian Dvorak, Josh Archibald and defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
ABOUT THE STARS:
• Dallas will play its first game under new Head Coach Jim Montgomery, who joins the team after spending the previous five seasons as the head coach of the University of Denver men's team ... Dallas will enter the game with a seven-game winning streak against the Coyotes, having outscored Arizona, 27-13, over that span ... Stars captain Jamie Benn finished the 2017-18 season ranked 22nd in the NHL with 79 points and forward Tyler Seguin finished tied for 23rd with 78 points. Since the two became teammates in 2013-14, Benn and Seguin have registered the second most points of any pair of teammates in the NHL ... Goalie Ben Bishop has been dealing with a muscle strain in the preseason but is expected to start ... Former Coyotes center Martin Hanzal is beginning the season on the injured-reserve list ... Prior to the game, country music legend George Strait will participate in the ceremonial puck drop.
• "There's a lot of opportunity out there. But at the same time, I don't want guys out there like, 'We've got to get off to a good start, we've got to do this, we've got to do that.' The opportunities are there, so go grab it. Just go out there and play. If you do the right things and you work hard long enough, you'll get good results. That's all we're looking for." -- Rick Tocchet
• "Everyone is done with the preseason and we're ready for regular season action. We had a really good camp and the guys are just itching to play some real hockey." -- Derek Stepan
• "I'm really excited with where our team is at and where we can be. A lot of our young guys are a year older and they've got some experience under their belts from last year, and the new guys coming in have been great ... It's a little bit more cohesive (this season) and we're kind of all on the same page and pushing in the same direction. We all now know the message that 'Toc' wanted us to understand and the way we want to play and our identity. It's important for us to apply that from Day One. We can't wait for the season to come to us. We have to go out and get it." -- Jason Demers