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The Wrap: Coyotes Home Stand Concludes with Loss to Avalanche

Keller and Larsson score, Raanta makes 35 saves

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes
Final Score: Avalanche 6, Coyotes 2
Record: 9-9-3
Standings: 6th-place, West Division

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Clayton Keller connected with a game-tying goal late in the second period Saturday night at Gila River Arena. But thereafter, Colorado took control.

The Coyotes suffered a 6-2 loss to the Avalanche and finished their season-long, nine-game home stand with a 3-4-2 record.

"We stuck with it for the first two periods," Keller said. "I think (the Avalanche) won more battles, they played the right way. It's tough to swallow. We all have to be better, myself included."

Keller's goal, a redirection of a Niklas Hjalmarsson shot, tied the game 1-1 with 5:47 remaining in the second period.

The Avalanche responded to reclaim the lead later in the second, and scored four straight goals to build a 5-1 lead.

Johan Larsson scored his second goal of the year with 3:28 remaining in regulation.

Colorado added its final goal into an empty net with under two minutes left.

The Coyotes played without leading scorer Conor Garland, day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Head coach Rick Tocchet described the loss of Garland's presence as "huge."

"Gars is a big part of our team," Tocchet said. "I called him, and he wanted to play. But it wouldn't have been right for him to play. We need him for the next 20-30 games. So, we'll figure it out in the next couple days, we've got a couple days off here."

Antti Raanta made 35 saves in his first start since February 13.

Tocchet said the Coyotes' home stand was a mixed bag.

"Some good and some bad," Tocchet said. "It's been a little bit of everything. That's really what it is, some good and some bad."

Keller feels the Coyotes can benefit from the one-game trip to Los Angeles Wednesday.

"I don't think we played our best hockey (this home stand)," Keller said. "We had some comeback wins, which were great for our team. There were a couple games we let slip away. So, going on the road to LA for a game, maybe it's a good thing for us. We'll see how that goes and bring some momentum back for the next two games (next weekend) against Minnesota."

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The Game:

First Period: Nathan MacKinnon scored at the 12:16 mark to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.

Second Period: Clayton Keller tied the game, 1-1, at the 14:13 mark. Jacob MacDonald reclaimed the lead for the Avalanche, 2-1 at the 17:15 mark.

Third Period: Gabriel Landeskog (1:58), Joonas Donskoi (12:00) and Tyson Jost (13:57) scored in succession to increase the Avalanche lead, 5-1. Johan Larsson cut the Coyotes' deficit to three, 5-2, with 3:28 remaining. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored an empty net goal to give the Avalanche a 6-2 lead.

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Tocchet's Take: "I thought we played hard tonight. It was hard to sustain it, they're a good hockey club. There were pockets of the game where the MacKinnon line had the puck in our end and they're very talented, one of the best lines in the league. For the most part, I thought guys really tried, they worked hard. Pockets of the game (Colorado) pushed and it was hard for us to sustain it when they pushed."

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson said: "We've got to come together as a team, get together as a group. That's how we're going to get out of (these two losses). I feel like we have been playing some good hockey the last three-four games, but we haven't been playing up to our standards. So, we need to fix that. We're going to have a couple days of practice here, so we can clean that up."

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Notable:

  • Niklas Hjalmarsson registered his first point of the season assisting Clayton Keller's goal.
  • Antti Raanta posted his second-highest save total (35) of the season.

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A Closer Look: The Coyotes finished the nine-game home stand with a 3-4-2 record, earning eight of a possible 18 points. The Coyotes are 6-6-3 in 15 home games this season. Arizona has played the most home games in the NHL.

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Coyotes Lineup:

Forwards

Caggiula - Schmaltz - Kessel

Crouse - Dvorak - Keller

Hunt - Larsson - Pitlick

Brassard - Chaput - Fischer

Defensemen

OEL - Lyubushkin

Chychrun - Goligoski

Oesterle - Hjalmarsson

Scratches

Demers

Garland

Kuemper

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Roster Notes: Darcy Kuemper is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and did not dress. Adin Hill served as back-up to Antti Raanta. Conor Garland is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. John Hayden was added to the NHL COVID-19 Protocol List and was unavailable to play. Dryden Hunt was recalled from the Taxi Squad and played his first game since Feb. 18.

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What's Next: The Coyotes have a scheduled off-day Sunday. They play the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday, 8 p.m., at STAPLES Center.

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Photo of the Game: Alex Goligoski, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Derick Brassard and Niklas Hjalmarsson present Coyotes Head Athletic Trainer Dave Zenobi (center) with a framed, team autographed jersey commemorating his 2,000th professional game.

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Highlights:

Video: Condensed Game: Avalanche @ Coyotes

Lead Photo Credit: Norm Hall - NHLI via Getty Images

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