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Preview: Coyotes vs. Avalanche

Arizona is starting a three-game homestand on Saturday vs. Colorado

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

Coyotes vs. Avs: Keys to the Game

Coyotes players preview tonight's game vs. Avalanche

From the morning skate, Coyotes players Radim Vrbata, Connor Murphy and Alex Goligoski offer insight into tonight's game vs. the Avalanche

  • 02:18 •

GLENDALE - The Coyotes will begin a three-game homestand on Saturday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Gila River Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. Arizona time.

 

Arizona (2-5-0) last played Thursday and beat Philadelphia, 5-4, to end a season-long six-game trip.

"The losses on the road are hard to take," defenseman Connor Murphy said. "It's obviously in our favor playing at home. We love playing in this building, so it's definitely to our advantage, and we want to make sure that we can get back on the right track and improve on things that we've been getting better at."

Defenseman Alex Goligoski likes how the team rallied at the end of the trip and suggested that if it plays the same way at home in the next few days the rough trip won't be as impactful.

"We'd obviously like to win them all," Goligoski said of the three-game homestand, "but it's about building. Even though some of those games didn't go our way, we did take some good steps. That last game at Philly, we were playing some pretty good hockey, so as long as we can keep doing that the wins are going to come."

Believe it or not, this game will be the Coyotes' first vs. a Western Conference team, and it comes two weeks into Arizona's season. That's the longest stretch of time the Coyotes have gone to start a season without playing a team in their conference in franchise history. 

Louis Domingue, who earned his first win of the season on Thursday, is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes as they play just their second home game of the season.

Brad Richardson is leading the Coyotes in points with six (three goals, three assists), and Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the top goal scorer with five. Only four other NHL players have scored more than five goals this season.

Defenseman Michael Stone left Thursday's game because of an upper-body injury, but it is not considered to be a serious injury and Stone is listed as day-to-day. Stone skated with teammates on Saturday morning but Head Coach Dave Tippett said he would be a game-time decision. If Stone doesn't play, Kevin Connauton would take his place paired with Goligoski.

Video: Dave Tippett previews Coyotes game vs. Avalanche

Captain Shane Doan is poised to play in his 1,474th game and move into a tie for 21st place with Doug Gilmour for most games played in NHL history.

Colorado (3-3-0) played Friday night and lost to Winnipeg, 1-0, at the Pepsi Center in Denver despite out-shooting the Jets 37-21. The 37 shots were a season-high for the Avalanche, and the 21 shots allowed were a season-low.

"They're a good, fast team," Goligoski said. "I don't think they're used to not scoring any goals so I'm sure they'll be itching to get back at it tonight. They're a team that kind of thrives off the rush and they can hurt you that way. They have a lot of skill up front. "

Playing under first-year Head Coach Jared Bednar, the Avs rank ninth in the NHL in power-play success at 23.8 percent (5 for 21).

Backup goalie Calvin Pickard is expected to start in goal for Colorado, which is 0-1-0 thus far in the second game of back-to-back games. Pickard is 1-0-0 this season; he and the Avs beat Pittsburgh, 4-3 in overtime, on Oct. 17.

Matt Duchene co-leads Colorado in points (five) and goals (three), and Nathan MacKinnon co-leads in points (five) and assists (four).

Defenseman Erik Johnson has fired a team-high 17 shots on goal but has yet to score. 

READ OFFICIAL GAME NOTES

BROADCAST INFO:

TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM

COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUP VS. AVALANCHE:

Forwards

Domi - Hanzal - Vrbata

McGinn- Martinook - Duclair

Rieder - Richardson - Doan

Dauphin - Dvorak - White

Defensemen 

Ekman-Larsson - Murphy

Goligoski - Stone (or Connauton)

Chychrun - Schenn

Goalies

Domingue

Peters

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