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Avalanche at Coyotes preview

MacKinnon seeks to extend point streak for Colorado; Arizona 7-2-1 past 10 games

by Alan Robinson / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (8-3-2) at COYOTES (7-4-1)

9 p.m. ET; FS-A Plus, ALT2, NHL.TV


The Game 

Nathan MacKinnon will attempt to extend his point streak since the season started to 14 games when the Colorado Avalanche play the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

MacKinnon scored his eighth goal of the season in Colorado's 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday. The loss extended Colorado's winless streak to three games (0-2-1) following an 8-1-1 start. MacKinnon has the longest season-opening streak in the NHL since Henrik Zetterberg had a 17-game streak with the Detroit Red Wings from Oct. 3-Nov. 11, 2007.

The Coyotes, 7-2-1 in their past 10 games, are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. 
Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for the Coyotes. Pavel Francouz is expected to start for the Avalanche in what would be his sixth NHL game and third against the Coyotes. He is 1-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average against them.


Players to watch

Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri had a goal in Colorado's 3-2 overtime win against Arizona on Oct. 12 and has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past four games.

Coyotes forward Phil Kessel has 10 goals in 17 games against the Avalanche. He has two goals this season, both against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 17.


They said it

"[The players] have to decide to get themselves ready to play. I can't do that for them. Right now, we're coming out to play hockey, we're not coming out to win hockey games." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on the 0-2-1 winless streak

"You've got to be mentally tough. We're going to have some of these spots throughout the year. This is going to happen again. We can't use it as an excuse." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet on starting a stretch of three games in four days, including back-to-back games on the road


Avalanche projected lines

Andre Burakovsky -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joonas Donskoi

Nazem Kadri -- Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Calvert

Valeri Nichushkin -- Vladislav Kamenev -- Jayson Megna

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Ian Cole -- Cale Makar

Nikita Zadorov -- Ryan Graves

Pavel Francouz

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Mark Barberio

Injured: Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body)


Coyotes projected lines

Barrett Hayton -- Christian Dvorak -- Phil Kessel

Clayton Keller -- Nick Schmaltz -- Conor Garland

Michael Grabner -- Derek Stepan -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Lawson Crouse -- Carl Soderberg -- Christian Fischer

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Jordan Oesterle -- Ilya Lyubushkin

Darcy Kuemper

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Aaron Ness, Eric Comrie

Injured: Niklas Hjalmarsson (lower body), Brad Richardson (upper body)


Status report

Oesterle will return after being out for six games with an upper body injury. … Richardson practiced Friday and is close to returning.


Stat pack

The Avalanche are 3-1 against the Coyotes since the start of last season. … MacKinnon has three goals in 18 games against Arizona. … The longest scoring streak to begin a season in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history is 30 games by Mats Sundin from Oct. 8-Dec. 10, 1992. … Kuemper is 5-1-0 in his past six starts and is 3-1-2 with a 2.09 goals-against average against Colorado.

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