COYOTES (37-33-7) at AVALANCHE (35-29-13)
9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT2, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV
Gabriel Landeskog will return for the Colorado Avalanche when they host the Arizona Coyotes at Pepsi Center on Friday.
Landeskog, Colorado's captain, missed the past nine games with an upper-body injury. He is Colorado's third-leading scorer with 69 points (33 goals, 36 assists) in 68 games. He'll play left wing with center Carl Soderberg and right wing Colin Wilson.
The Avalanche lead the Coyotes by two points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference; each team has five games remaining. The Avalanche, 5-0-1 in their past six games, are five points behind the Dallas Stars, who hold the first wild card.
The Coyotes will tie the Avalanche at 83 points with a regulation win. They are two points ahead of the Minnesota Wild. Arizona is fourth in the Pacific Division, nine points behind the third-place Vegas Golden Knights. The Coyotes ended a five-game losing streak (0-3-2) Tuesday with a 1-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Players to watch
Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper is 12-5-2 in his past 19 starts with a 1.78 goals-against average, a .941 save percentage and three shutouts.
Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer is 5-0-1 in his past six starts with a 1.49 goals-against average, a .958 save percentage and one shutout.
They said it
"These are the fun games, there's no feeling like it. You use that energy to play, enjoy the moment. Embrace this, trust yourself and have fun." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet
"It's high-stakes hockey, the games you want to play in and coach. It's playoff hockey." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
Coyotes projected lineup
Richard Panik -- Brad Richardson -- Vinnie Hinostroza
Lawson Crouse -- Derek Stepan -- Josh Archibald
Michael Grabner -- Christian Dvorak -- Clayton Keller
Alex Galchenyuk - Nick Cousins -- Mario Kempe
Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Niklas Hjalmarsson
Alex Goligoski -- Jason Demers
Kevin Connauton -- Jordan Oesterle
Scratched: Jakob Chychrun, Christian Fischer, Conor Garland, Ilya Lyubushkin
Injured: Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body)
Avalanche projected lineup
Alexander Kerfoot -- Nathan MacKinnon -- J.T. Compher
Gabriel Landeskog -- Carl Soderberg - Colin Wilson
Derick Brassard -- Tyson Jost -- Matt Calvert
Matt Nieto - Sven Andrighetto -- Gabriel Bourque
Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson
Ian Cole -- Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov -- Patrik Nemeth
Scratched: Andrew Agozzino, Ryan Graves
Injured: Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Mikko Rantanen (upper body)
The Avalanche signed forward Shane Bowers to a three-year, entry-level contract Friday; he will report to Colorado of the American Hockey League on an amateur tryout contract. The 19-year-old had 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 37 games this season, his second at Boston University. The Avalanche acquired Bowers, the No. 28 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, on Nov. 5, 2017, in the three-way trade that sent center Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators.
Ekman-Larsson has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past eight games. … Barrie has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past seven games.