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Coyotes vs. Avalanche Preview

Arizona is ending a four-game homestand on Monday vs. Colorado

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

GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will try to close a four-game homestand with a win when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at Gila River Arena.

Arizona (24-35-8) got points from nine players, including three rookies, in its 5-4 win over New Jersey on Saturday in the third game of the homestand.

"(There's) lots to play for," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "There's part of last game I didn't like as much, but the last couple of games I feel like we've played well. We have to continue to do that. Our young players are contributing, which is a big factor for us right now. We need everybody. We need our veterans to play well. We're in a situation we've got to go out and play to win every night. That's what we expect our players to do."

Video: Dave Tippett previews Monday's game vs. Avs

Mike Smith, who made 26 saves to beat the Devils, lwill start again on Monday vs. Colorado. Smith was injured and did not play in the first two games between these teams in October and November, but he has dominated the Avs in his career; he's 9-1-4 against Colorado with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in 14 games. 

Rookie Brendan Perlini will enter the game with a modest two-game goal-scoring streak. Perlini has notched 12 goals in 42 games this season. That ranks 13th among NHL rookies, but all 12 freshman ahead of him in goals scored have played at least 50 games.

Forward Radim Vrbata, who leads the team with 16 goals and 33 assists, needs just one point to reach the 50-point milestone for the fifth time in his NHL career. With 15 games to play, Vrbata is 14 points from matching his career-high for points in a season (63 in 2014-15).

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson ranks sixth on the team with 10 goals but he hasn't scored one since Feb. 2, a span of 17 games, and he's taken just 24 shots on goal in those 17 games. 

Rookie Jakob Chychrun notched a career-high three points in Saturday's win vs. New Jersey.

"I got on the scoresheet a few times but I also had a couple of turnovers that I'd like to have back," Chychrun said. "Defensively, I would have liked to have played better. But you learn from the mistakes and that's how you continue to develop. I'm not afraid to make mistakes, I just have to learn from them." 

Video: Jakob Chyrchun previews Monday's game vs. Avs

Arizona has been playing with just one healthy reserve, forward Teemu Pulkkinen, while forward Alexander Burmistrov and defenseman Kevin Connauton have been nursing upper-body injuries.

Colorado (19-45-3), which has earned the fewest amount of points in the League (41), has won two of its past three games.

The Avalanche have scored just 131 goals in 67 games. Their opponents have scored an eye-popping 221.

Goalie Calvin Pickard has stopped 77 of 84 shots over his past three starts and has made 30-plus saves in 13 of his 36 starts.

Forward Nathan MacKinnon leads the team in points (44) and assists (30), and Matt Duchene is Colorado's top goal scorer with 16. However, Duchene has not scored a goal in any of the Avs past 10 games.

Forward Mikko Rantanen ranks 10th among NHL rookies with 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists), but he is minus-26, which ranks worst among NHL freshmen, by far.

Video: Jordan Martinook previews Monday's game vs. Avs



TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM



Domi - Dvorak - Vrbata

Perlini - Martinook - Rieder

Crouse - Jooris - Doan

McGinn - Holland - Duclair


Ekman-Larsson - Murphy

Goligoski - Schenn

Chychrun - DeAngelo







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