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Hey, Game Day! - Coyotes in Colorado

Raanta starts, Soderberg makes his return to Denver, and Kessel plays in 1,000th game

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

Game #4: Arizona (1-2-0) at Colorado (3-0-0)

6:00 PM PST - Pepsi Center | Denver, Colorado

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

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Jean Hebert #15, Dan O'Rourke #9

Linesmen: Ryan Galloway #82, Brian Masch #78

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> COYOTES IN COLORADO <

Fresh off their first win of the season, a convincing 4-1 triumph over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, the Coyotes ready for the first of their three scheduled match-ups against the Colorado Avalanche.

This begins a two-game road trip for Arizona; the team follows up with a game in Winnipeg on Tuesday night before returning home.

The Avalanche, no strangers to the win column from the get-go, come roaring into tonight's title with a perfect 3-0-0 record. They defeated the Boston Bruins on home ice Thursday night, scoring four unanswered goals to overcome an early two-goal deficit, rallying for a 4-2 win.

Pavel Francouz will make his first NHL start tonight for the Avalanche; he made his NHL debut on December 22 of last season against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena, stopping 21 of 22 shots faced in 29:15 minutes of relief of Philipp Grubauer in Arizona's eventual 6-4 win.

Brad Richardson surprised the young goaltender with a wrist shot from long distance that night for the game-winning goal.

Lawson Crouse , listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury, will be a game-time decision. He did not play on Saturday night.

Antti Raanta starts.

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> THREE THOUGHTS <

FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME: As Rick Tocchet's alluded to since Thursday morning's pregame availability, Antti Raanta will be in the Coyotes' net against Colorado. For Raanta, it will be his first start since November 27 of last season in Minnesota. The 30-year-old goaltender was perfect in his lone conditioning start with the Tucson Roadrunners, pitching a 19-save shutout on October 4 in a 2-0 season-opening win for Arizona's AHL affiliate.

WELCOME BACK: Carl Soderberg returns to Colorado for the first time since the late-June trade brought him to Arizona in exchange for Kevin Connauton and a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The power forward played in a total of 321 games for the Avalanche over a span of four full seasons, putting up a total of 151 points in the form of 57 goals and 94 assists. On a line with Conor Garland and Christian Fischer   Thursday night, Soderberg had a monster game, posting two assists, two shots, and three hits in the Coyotes' 4-1 win.

MISTER 1,000: No opponent or building has been safe with Phil Kessel present through the first 999 games of his NHL career. He hasn't played in Colorado very often, only seven times in fact, but when he has, he's produced, totaling five goals and six points in his visits to Denver. Kessel will tonight become the 13th player in franchise history to play in his 1,000th game.

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> LAST TIME AROUND <

March 29, 2019 - Arizona (2) at Colorado (3) F/SO

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored two third period goals, including the game-tying marker with :50.5 seconds left in regulation to extend the Coyotes to overtime in their previous match-up with the Avalanche on March 29, 2019 at Colorado's Pepsi Center.

In the thick of the wild-card playoff race, Arizona eventually lost a point in what would ultimately end up being a 3-2 shootout loss. Darcy Kuemper made a total of 25 saves while Arizona's offense peppered Philipp Grubauer with 44 shots.

This served as the Coyotes' lone visit to Colorado last season; they finished with a 1-1-1 record against the Avalanche in 2018-19.

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> NUMBER TO KNOW <

ZERO (0)

And in this regard, that's a number you'd like to remain unchanged.

The Coyotes are one of only two teams in the NHL yet to have allowed a power play goal to their opponent, the other the Vancouver Canucks. Arizona has killed off all seven of its minor penalties and has generated a combined five shorthanded shots in those situations.

On the flip-side, Colorado has executed on four of its 14 power play opportunities this season, entering the night with a 28.6% success rate, which ranks ninth in the league.

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> PHOTO FINISH <

Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson and fellow defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson walk to board the team plane on Friday afternoon at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport ahead of the flight to Denver, Colorado. (Photo: Janelle Etzel / Arizona Coyotes)

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