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Avalanche, Coyotes try to build off previous wins

by Sergei J. Feldman /
COYOTES (18-13-8) at AVALANCHE (21-14-5)

TV -- ALT (HD)

Last 10 --
Phoenix 4-4-2; Colorado 5-4-1

Season series --
This is the first of four meetings between the two Western Conference foes. Last season the two teams split, as the Avalanche took the first two games, while the Coyotes closed out the season series with the last two wins. A clean slate welcomes both clubs tonight.

Big story -- Both teams are looking to begin winning streaks, as each are coming off impressive home wins.

Team scope:

Coyotes -- The Coyotes started 2011 with a thriller against the Minnesota Wild in which they fell 6-5 in overtime. They bounced back Tuesday night with a 4-2 win against Columbus, in which they put forth a much more complete effort. Facing the Avalanche will serve as a great chance to string together consecutive wins during a stretch in which the Coyotes won't have more than one day off between games until the last week of the January.

Avalanche -- The Avalanche currently sit second in the Northwest Division behind the League-leading Vancouver Canucks and are right in the thick of things in the Western Conference's playoff picture. The chance to gain some ground on teams stares the Avalanche in the face, as they are in the midst of a five-game homestand and play a total of 10 of 12 January games at the Pepsi Center. 

Who’s hot --
For the Coyotes, captain Shane Doan started the year with inconsistent play but has come on strong of late. Doan has points in seven straight games and 9 in his past 10 games. His play has not gone unnoticed.

"If he can keep up this pace, we’ll be fine," coach Dave Tippett said of Doan's play. "When he's (scoring), everyone else jumps in, or should jump in. The thing about players like that is they just don’t do it a couple days; Doaner's been doing it for a month and a half now. That's a sign of the player he is."

For the Avalanche, meanwhile, sophomore Matt Duchene is in the midst of a five-game points streak and has been a big reason for the team’s strong recent play.

Injury report -- Paul Stastny and Cody McLeod are day-to-day for the Avalanche. Stastny is dealing with flu-like symptoms, while McLeod is battling a groin injury. … Kyle Turris of the Coyotes is questionable with an upper-body injury.

Stat pack --
Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall leads the team in goal scoring after earning his 11th of the season Tuesday night. The goal is part of a four-game points streak.

Puck drop --
The Coyotes are knocking on the door of the top eight in the Western Conference and could find themselves above the cutoff line with a win Thursday.

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