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At the Rink: Avalanche at Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes continue to make it tough on the opposition to score.

But it's not translating to wins because they aren't able to score themselves.

Coming into the game with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, the Coyotes have lost 15 of their past 16 games and a lack of offense has been the obvious culprit.

Arizona was shut out for the 10th time this season, 1-0 against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. They have been shut out or limited to one goal in seven of the past eight games and in nine of the past 11 games. They have a total of 20 goals in the past 16 games, which has resulted in a 1-14-1 record that has pushed them below the Edmonton Oilers into last in the Western Conference for the first time this season.

On the positive side, the defense and goaltending have played some of their best hockey all season. The Coyotes have held five teams in Stanley Cup Playoff position or fighting for it -- the Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks and Kings -- to two goals or fewer over the past six games.

The Coyotes will play rookie goalie Louis Domingue against the Avalanche. Domingue, who played for Colorado coach Patrick Roy in the Quebec Major Junior League with the Quebec Ramparts, has a 2.14 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in his four NHL appearances.

He has a win against Montreal and an overtime loss to Nashville in his first two starts.

"When Louie has gotten in he's played well for us," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "I'm expecting the same thing from him tonight. He has a good day of practice (Wednesday) and he's playing against his old coach, so we'll see what he can do.

"He makes a lot of saves look pretty easy. He's not jumping around a lot. He's controlled in his movements and in the two full games he's played he's played well."

Tippett said Domingue is learning to put in the work necessary to play at the NHL level.

"A lot of young players in the minors, they play a lot of games. But up here, when we practice we practice hard, and he had to learn how hard you have to work every day and that you don't take days off. That's a process for him."

After a five-day break in the schedule, the Avalanche begin a stretch of eight road games over the next 10 in Arizona. They are seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card in the Western Conference with 13 games to play. They have a game in hand on the Jets.

Here are the projected lineups:

AVALANCHE

Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Alex Tanguay

John Mitchell - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Dennis Everberg

Jordan Caron - Joey Hishon - Daniel Briere

Jan Hejda - Zach Redmond

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Brad Stuart - Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratched: Freddie Hamilton

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (fractured kneecap), Joey Hishon (elbow, neck), Erik Johnson (knee), Jamie McGinn (back surgery), Nathan MacKinnon (broken foot), Borna Rendulic (broken leg), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

COYOTES

Tobias RiederMark ArcobelloShane Doan

Martin EratSam GagnerDavid Moss

Lauri KorpikoskiKyle ChipchuraCraig Cunningham

Tye McGinnJoe VitaleB.J. Crombeen

Oliver Ekman-LarssonMichael Stone

Brandon GormleyConnor Murphy

Klas DahlbeckAndrew Campbell

Louis Domingue

Mike Smith

Scratched: John Moore

Injured: Mikkel Boedker (upper body), Martin Hanzal (upper body)

Status report: Johnson, who had knee surgery Jan. 26, is not on the trip but could play as early as March 23 when the Avalanche face the Calgary Flames. … The Coyotes mixed up their forward lines again against the Kings with little result, but Tippett will stick with them for a second game.

Who's hot: Iginla has four goals and three assists in his past eight games. … Landeskog has four goals and five assists in his past eight games. … Tanguay needs one goal for his first 20-goal season since 2010-11 with the Calgary Flames (22).

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