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At the Rink: Coyotes at Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche are hopeful that a sudden surge in their offensive game will continue against the Arizona Coyotes at Pepsi Center on Monday.

The Avalanche (23-22-11) are averaging 2.4 goals per game, but they scored 10 goals in the past three games and are coming off a 4-1 win Saturday against the Dallas Stars that ended their losing streak at four games.

"It's a start, for sure," said right wing Nathan MacKinnon, who has gone 10 games without a goal despite taking 31 shots. "It's coming, baby steps. Hopefully we can get rolling."

MacKinnon was originally credited with a first-period goal against the Stars, but it was changed to Gabriel Landeskog, who was parked in front when he tipped the puck into the net.

"I think it's positive," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I certainly like the goals that we scored last game. There was a lot of traffic in front of the net, tips. That's what we want. You look around the NHL, the type of goals that have been scored, it's not always a pretty play. It's having guys driving to the net and going to the net. That's what we want to continue to do."

The Avalanche power play continues to be problematic. They are 0-for-32 with the man advantage in the past 11 games.

The Coyotes (20-30-7) have lost three games in a row, but they've gone 3-1-0 in their past four road games.

Goalie Mike McKenna, who was recalled Feb. 9 from Portland in the American Hockey League, will make his season debut. Mike Smith started the seven previous games.

"(Smith) is a little bit under the weather, not feeling well," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "It just seemed like the right time to do it. We need to play well in front of him."

McKenna, 31, was signed as a free agent July 1. He had an 18-14-2 record with five shutouts, a 2.09 goals-against average and .933 save percentage with Portland. He has a 5-10-2 career record in the NHL with a 3.40 GAA and .891 save percentage.

"He's a veteran backup guy and has been a pro for a number of years," Tippett said. "He recognizes the situation. It's a great opportunity for him. Our team has to play better in front of our goaltender no matter who it is. He's excited about the opportunity."

Here are the projected lineups:


Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Martin Erat

Lucas Lessio - Kyle Chipchura - Shane Doan

Tobias Rieder - Mark Arcobello - Sam Gagner

Jordan Martinook - Joe Vitale - David Moss

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Brandon Gormley

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

Andrew Campbell - Connor Murphy

Mike McKenna

Mike Smith

Scratched: B.J. Crombeen

Injured: Mikkel Boedker (upper body), Alexandre Bolduc (upper body), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Zbynek Michalek (upper body)


Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Nathan MacKinnon

Maxime Talbot - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla

Alex Tanguay - John Mitchell - Dennis Everberg

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Paul Carey

Jan Hejda - Zach Redmond

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Brad Stuart - Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratched: Daniel Briere, Stefan Elliott

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (fractured kneecap), Erik Johnson (knee), Jamie McGinn (back surgery), Borna Rendulic (broken leg), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Status report: Stuart had a sore head, neck and ribs after a collision with Holden in the game Saturday against the Stars, but he skated Monday and will play.

Who's hot: Iginla has two goals and three assists in a three-game point streak. … Duchene has one goal and three assists in a three-game streak.

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