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Avalanche Wraps Up Back-to-Back Set in Arizona

It is the second of three meetings between the clubs this season

by Danielle Bernstein /

The Colorado Avalanche heads to Arizona to take on the Coyotes on Saturday night, the Avs' last contest before the NHL's Holiday Break.

It's the second of three games this season between Colorado and Arizona, who will square off one more time when the Coyotes make their lone trip to the Mile High City on March 29.

Last Time Out

Colorado closed out its four-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at Pepsi Center. J.T. Compher scored for the Avalanche, and Philipp Grubauer finished with 26 saves. The Avs held a 36-28 advantage in the shots column, but were scoreless on five opportunities with the man advantage.

The Coyotes enter Saturday's contest coming off a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for the Coyotes, tying the game with a power-play marker in the second period. Arizona held a 37-28 advantage in shots and finished 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.

Last Time They Met

J.T. Compher scored two short-handed goals on the same power play in the opening stanza, and Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves to lead the Avalanche to a 5-1 win over the Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Nov. 23. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each tallied a goal and an assist, and Nathan MacKinnon added two helpers for Colorado. Dylan Strome was tallied for the Coyotes, who also got 34 saves from Antti Raanta.

What To Watch

On the Road Again

After a four-game homestand, its longest of the season so far, the Avalanche head back on the road, where the team's 11-6-3 in 2018-19. Colorado's 25 away points this campaign are first in the Western Conference and the third-most in the league. The Avs' 74 goals scored away from their home barn rank second in the NHL in away markers, and Colorado's power-play unit is 21-for-68 (30.9 percent) away from Denver this season, the second-ranked road power play in the NHL.

Rantanen Goes for 60

With a league-high 58 points, Mikko Rantanen needs two points against Arizona to become the first Avalanche player since the franchise relocated to Denver to reach 60 points before the NHL's Holiday Break. With one point, he would equal the highest total by a Colorado player at the break (59), set by Peter Forsberg in 1995-96. Rantanen would be just the third NHL player over the last 20 years to surpass 60 or more points before the holidays, as Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby each accomplished the feat in 2002-03 and 2010-11, respectively.

Player To Watch

Colorado: Defenseman Tyson Barrie

Barrie registered his 207th career assist on Monday to tie John-Michael Liles for the most assists by a defenseman in franchise history. With 272 career points, he is also closing in on Liles' franchise record for points by a blueliner (275).

Arizona: Center Nick Schmaltz

Schmaltz has registered 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 12 games since being acquired by Arizona from Chicago on Nov. 25. He made his Coyotes debut on Nov. 27 and is now one of seven players in Coyotes history to register at least nine points through the first eight games of his Arizona career. He has picked up a point in seven of his 12 outings with the club.

The Details

Saturday night's contest between the Avs and the Coyotes begins at 5 p.m. MT and can be watched live on Altitude 2. The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950.

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