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Tanguay, Boedker set to face former teams

Coyotes visit Avalanche one week after forwards traded for each other

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

COYOTES (28-31-6) at AVALANCHE (33-30-4)

TV: 9 p.m. ET; NBCSN

DENVER -- Arizona Coyotes forward Alex Tanguay and Colorado Avalanche forward Mikkel Boedker will play against their former teams Monday at Pepsi Center one week after getting trading for each other.

"It'll be a lot of fun," said Boedker, who was acquired Feb. 29 for Tanguay and prospects Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood. "I have a lot of good friends over there and hopefully we can come out with the win, that's the main goal. We need the two points more than they do. We had a lot of battles in practice and now it's going to be for real."

Boedker has a goal and an assist in three games following the trade while playing on a line with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. He'll be with MacKinnon and Blake Comeau against the Coyotes. Landeskog will skate with Shawn Matthias and Carl Soderberg.

"We feel it's going to bring more depth and take less pressure on a line here and there to generate more offense," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said.

The Avalanche, who have lost three of their past four games, are two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. The Wild will have a game in hand after Monday.

"It's really exciting being in a playoff race," Boedker said. "Every game matters. It's been a lot of fun so far and hopefully it continues. Playoffs is what it's all about. The main focus here is making the playoffs. It's going to be a tight battle to the end against Minnesota. That's what you play for."

Tanguay had two goals and an assist in his Arizona debut Saturday, a 5-1 win against the Florida Panthers, after missing one game because of a sore knee. He and linemates Antoine Vermette and Anthony Duclair combined for three goals and six assists to help the Coyotes end a seven-game losing streak.

"It was fun, but it's just one game," said Tanguay, who was a member of the Avalanche's 2001 Stanley Cup championship team and was in his second stint with the team. "I have nothing but great memories of playing here and I'm very thankful for the time that was given me. Tonight it will be a little weird, but it's hockey."

Tanguay, 36, had four goals and 18 assists in 52 games with Colorado and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. He said he was told the Avalanche wouldn't re-sign him, and he's hopeful of playing beyond this season.

"I never asked to be moved, I just wanted an opportunity to play," he said. "They saw a better opportunity and wanted to make the move, which was fine. It's their team and I respect the decision. I'm not bitter, no hard feelings. I'm hoping it's going to keep going. I think I have the abilities to do that. I'm hoping to help this team win some games and see where it leads."

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said Tanguay's addition has given him a skilled veteran that his young players can learn from.

"They're like sponges," Tippett said. "Alex has a wealth of experience and he's won, so hopefully that can rub off on the kids. He's willing to share that experience. He's a very outgoing guy and he'd like to pass off the good fortune that he's had."

Here are the projected lineups:

Alex Tanguay - Antoine Vermette - Anthony Duclair
Tobias Rieder - Martin Hanzal - Jiri Sekac
Max Domi - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan
Jordan Martinook - Boyd Gordon - Sergei Plotnikov

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy
Nicklas Grossmann - Michael Stone
Klas Dahlbeck - Kevin Connauton  

Louis Domingue
Marek Langhamer

Injured: Anders Lindback (Achilles surgery), Zbynek Michalek (upper body), Mike Smith (abdominal surgery), Joe Vitale (fractured orbital bone)
Scratched: Kyle Chipchura, Viktor Tikhonov, Jarred Tinordi

Mikhail Grigorenko - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla
Mikkel Boedker - Nathan MacKinnon - Blake Comeau
Shawn Matthias - Carl Soderberg - Gabriel Landeskog
Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson
Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie
Chris Bigras - Eric Gelinas

Semyon Varlamov
Calvin Pickard

Injured: Ben Street (chest), Brad Stuart (back surgery), Jesse Winchester (head)
Scratched: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Andreas Martinsen, Zach Redmond

Status report: Chipchura went home Monday to be with his wife, who is due to give birth. … Domi returns to the Coyotes lineup after serving a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of a game against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. … Varlamov will start after sitting as Pickard's backup the past two games. … Gelinas will play after missing two games because of a back issue.

Who's hot: Tanguay has three goals and one assist in his past two games. … Duclair has one goal and two assists in a two-game streak. … Landeskog has two goals and one assist in a two-game streak. 

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