After a three-game homestand, the Colorado Avalanche hits the road again as it opens a two-game trip at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
The Avs fell 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center on Friday, despite outshooting Dallas 28-16 in the final two periods. Nathan MacKinnon, who tied a franchise record with 12 shots on goal in the loss, scored Colorado's lone goal on a power-play goal in the second frame.
Now, the team faces a quick turnaround. This is the Avs third back-to-back set of the season and their second meeting with Arizona. Colorado beat the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 12 as Andre Burakovsky scored the winning goal and Cale Makar recorded his first career multi-point game with two assists.
The Coyotes (7-4-1) are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, after winning six of their previous seven games.
Avalanche at Arizona Coyotes
Gila River Arena | Glendale, Ariz.
The Avalanche acquired defenseman Kevin Connauton and a 2020 third-round pick from Arizona in a deal this past offseason that sent Carl Soderberg to the Coyotes … Soderberg played four seasons in Colorado (2015-2019)… Arizona's Brad Richardson was drafted No. 163 overall in the fifth-round by Colorado in 2003 and played his first three NHL seasons with the Avalanche (2005-2008)… Rick Tocchet was an assistant coach for the Avalanche from 2002-04… The Avalanche's Matt Nieto and Arizona's Jason Demers were teammates on the San Jose Sharks from 2013-2015.
The Avalanche leads the all-time series with the Coyotes, 64-49-18, with a 47-29-10 mark since its first season in Denver in 1995-96. This is the second of three meetings between the Avs and Coyotes this year, the final slated for March 31 in Colorado, and the only one in Arizona. The Avalanche has won four of the last five meetings and three of the last five as the visiting team.
Given the back-to-back scenario, Pavel Francouz is expected to start in net on Saturday. He made his first career NHL start against Arizona on Oct. 12 and made 34 saves to earn his first win in the league.
Mikko Rantenen remains week-to-week with a lower-body injury… Gabriel Landeskog is out of the lineup indefinitely with a lower-body injury… Colin Wilson is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
SCOUTING THE COYOTES
Since their overtime loss in Colorado, the Coyotes have won six of their last eight games, scoring at least three goals in every win. Leading the way offensively in that time has been Nick Schmaltz, who has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the stretch. Arizona, which finished fourth in the Pacific Division in 2018-19 with a 39-35-8 record, is 7-4-1 this year.
Arizona ranks 15th in the league with a 21.1 percent conversion rate while on the power play and 21 on the penalty kill, finding success 79.4 percent of the time. The Coyotes have also allowed the second fewest goals in the league (28) so far this season, limiting their opposition to an average of 2.33 goals per game.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Alex Goligoski
Alex Goligoski, who recorded an assist against the Avalanche ono Oct. 12, has eight points this season (one goal, seven assists). He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last seven outings and has a helper in each of his previous two contests.
Goligoski, 34, is on a five-game point streak against the Avs (one goal, four assists) dating back to 2017-18. The veteran defenseman, who previously played in Dallas and Pittsburgh, has 15 career points (three goals, 12 assists) in 31 games against Colorado.
Colorado's 3.69 goals-per-game ranks fourth in the NHL.
The Avalanche has surrendered just eight goals in the third period this season, tied with the New York Islanders for the second fewest in the NHL.
Scoring his eighth goal of the season on Friday, Nathan MacKinnon took his point streak to 13 games, the fourth longest of any NHL player to start a campaign since 1999-00. He's also the only NHL player to record a point in every game this season.
Saturday's game will complete the third of 12 back-to-back sets the Avalanche face this season… Rookie defenseman Cale Makar recorded two assists in Colorado's 3-2 OT win over the Coyotes on Oct. 12, his first career multi-point game… The Avalanche has the sixth-best penalty kill percentage in the NHL, killing off 85.4 percent this season… The game against Arizona is the Avs fifth against a Pacific Division opponent this season (3-1-0).