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Game #13 Preview: Arizona vs. Colorado

Darcy Kuemper starts and Jordan Oesterle returns; Colorado 0-2-1 in its past three games

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #13: ARIZONA (7-4-1) VS. COLORADO (8-3-2)

6:00 PM PST - Gila River Arena | Glendale, Arizona

TV: Fox Sports Arizona Plus (Matt McConnell, Tyson Nash, Todd Walsh, Jody Jackson)

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis, Paul Bissonnette)

Referees: Dan O'Halloran #13, Kyle Rehman #10

Linesmen: Travis Toomey #90, Brandon Gawryletz #64

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ARIZONA VS. COLORADO

The Coyotes host the Colorado Avalanche tonight at Gila River Arena to conclude their two-game home stand.

This marks the second of three scheduled meetings between the teams this season, and Colorado's lone visit to Arizona. The Coyotes will not play the Avalanche again until the final week of the regular season, March 31st at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche are playing the second half of a back-to-back set tonight; they are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars at home on Friday night.

The Coyotes are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

Whether it be assessing the previous match-up between the clubs or taking into account Colorado's current skid (0-2-1), head coach Rick Tocchet spotlighted internal team focus.

"It was a good game, it was a good hockey game and we got back into it because we stuck to our principles," Tocchet said, referencing the Coyotes' third period comeback on October 12 in Colorado. "So it's the same thing tonight. You always want to scout your opposition and look at some things, but really it's about us tonight. We've got to dictate the play, worry about the way we play, get pucks to the net more."

Darcy Kuemper will start for the Coyotes tonight, as confirmed by Tocchet following Friday's practice.

Jordan Oesterle will return to the lineup after missing the last six games due to an upper-body injury. Brad Richardson remains out of the lineup.

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THREE THINGS

SHORT-STAFFED: Since last seeing the Avalanche in early October, Colorado's roster has taken a pair of hits. They are without forwards Gabriel Landeskog indefinitely and Mikko Rantanen week-to-week, both sidelined with lower-body injuries. Landeskog, Colorado's captain, put up seven points (3G, 4A) in 11 games prior to his injury, while Rantanen amassed 12 (5G, 7A) in nine games. "We caught a break that a couple of their best players are out tonight, but they're still dangerous," said Tocchet. "Anytime you play Colorado, it's a dangerous game."

BOUNCE BACK: The Coyotes have not dropped consecutive games since the start of the season when they suffered back-to-back one-goal defeats on October 3 & 5. They have gone on to post a 7-2-1 record since then, twice responding to losses (not including Wednesday's) with wins. The Coyotes will look to do the same tonight "It's the same thing [for us]," said Tocchet. "Play consistent, and for the most part we've been consistent."

COLORADO CRITICAL: The Avalanche come into tonight's game having lost three consecutive games, posting a 0-2-1 record over that stretch to follow their magnificent 8-1-1 start. "They'll definitely be hungry," said defenseman Alex Goligoski . "They're a little banged up right now, but they're a good team. It'll be a real simple game plan for us; we're going to play hard and make it a hard game for them. They'll definitely be ready to go."

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LAST TIME AROUND

October 12, 2019 - Arizona (2) at Colorado (3) F/OT

The teams' first meeting of the season remained scoreless through the first 46:57 of play, but the clubs traded pairs of goals in the final 13:03 of regulation to extend into overtime tied, 2-2.

The Avalanche scored twice in a 1:51 window, but the Coyotes drew even with goals from Michael Grabner and Nick Schmaltz . Schmaltz's tally, his second of the season, tied the game with 3:57 to play in regulation.

Andre Burakovsky scored with 1:31 remaining in overtime to secure a 3-2 win for the Avalanche. Antti Raanta made 29 saves in what was his first start of the season.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

FIVE (5)

Alex Goligoski enters the evening with a five-game point streak (1G, 4A) against the Avalanche, dating back to the 2017-18 season.

The veteran defenseman earned the secondary assist on Nick Schmaltz's game-tying goal in the teams' previous match-up on October 12. He leads all Coyotes defensemen in scoring with eight points (1G, 7A) and has registered assist in each of the past two games.

Goligoski's last goal against the Avalanche came on December 27, 2017, a 3-1 Coyotes win at Colorado's Pepsi Center.

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QUICK HITS

  • Colorado's 3.69 goals-per-game ranks fourth in the NHL.
  • Nathan McKinnon enters the night with a 13-game point streak; he is the only NHL player to record a point in every game this season.
  • Darcy Kuemper's .933 SV% ranks fourth and his 1.87 GAA ranks third in the NHL among qualified goaltenders.
  • The Coyotes' 28 goals-against this season is the second lowest total in the NHL.
  • Arizona owns a 55-53-12-10 all-time record against Colorado.

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Lead photo credit: Kevin Anggara // Footer photo credit: Christian Petersen

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