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Hanzal returns for Coyotes against Avalanche

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com

AVALANCHE (7-9-5) at COYOTES (9-11-2)

TV: TVA SPORTS; ALT+, FS-A

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two teams fighting to get back the Western Conference pack have missed a key cog in their lineup of late.

The Arizona Coyotes will get theirs back Tuesday. The Colorado Avalanche will have to wait.

Martin Hanzal will be in the lineup for the Coyotes when they play the Avalanche at Gila River Arena.

Hanzal, who missed seven of the first 22 games with several injuries, will play between Rob Klinkhammer and Martin Erat reuniting a line that has had success. Hanzal ranks fifth on the Coyotes in scoring with 11 points despite missing almost a third of their games.

"He’s a big guy in the middle that plays against other team’s top players," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "When he’s in, your lineup just fits better. We kept him away a couple of extra day purposely to rest, but he skated hard [Monday] and he looked good this morning."

The Avalanche hoped to have their leading goal scorer, Alex Tanguay in the lineup. But Tanguay, who was hit in the face by a slap shot from Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals five days ago, will miss his second straight game Tuesday. He was able to practice Monday and took part in the morning skate with a full face shield but won’t suit up.

Tanguay, who has been hit in the face with pucks three times in recent weeks, has seven goals to lead Colorado’s offense.

Mike Smith will start in goal for Arizona. Backup Devan Dubnyk is 5-0-1 this season but Tippett has praised the recent play of Smith, who had a strong game in a 2-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. Smith has one regulation loss in 12 career starts against Colorado (8-1-3).

"He had a hiccup behind the net that cost us a goal (in the first period) but he played really well and made a big save in the third to keep us in it," Tippett said. “(Goalie coach) Sean Burke has liked the way he’s practicing and playing, so hopefully he can give us a big win tonight."

Smith’s mistake cost Arizona a goal but Tippett doesn’t want that to take away his aggressiveness with the puck.

"When a player has a breakaway and he misses the next, does he not shoot the next time?" Tippett said. "He helps out a ton back there and you see how many times he touches the puck on breakouts. We want him to play that way."

With No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov out with a groin injury, Reto Berra will get the start for Colorado. He has allowed six goals on the past 36 shots he’s seen and allowed three goals on 10 shots in 16 minutes before being pulled against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Backup Calvin Pickard stopped all 17 shots in relief and the Avalanche rallied for a 4-3 win against Carolina.

"They got high-end skill and they are playing a little better defensively and they’re starting to win," Tippett said. "You have to be aware of the skill on the ice and we have to play a strong defending game against them."

Looking for their fourth win in five games, the Avalanche recalled center Paul Carey from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. He will replace Andrew Aggozino, who went back to Lake Erie.

Here are the projected lineups:

AVALANCHE

Ryan O'ReillyMatt Duchene - Daniel Briere

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnonJarome Iginla

Tomas Vincour - Ben Street - Maxime Talbot

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Paul Carey

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Nick Holden - Zach Redmond

Reto Berra

Calvin Pickard

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (back surgery), Dennis Everberg (separated shoulder), Jamie McGinn (back), John Mitchell (leg), Brad Stuart (hamstring), Alex Tanguay (facial fracture), Ryan Wilson (shoulder surgery), Semyon Varlamov (groin), Jesse Winchester (concussion).

COYOTES

Lauri KorpikoskiAntoine VermetteMikkel Boedker

Tobias RiederSam GagnerShane Doan

Rob KlinkhammerMartin HanzalMartin Erat

Brandon McMillan - Joe VitaleB.J. Crombeen

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Keith YandleMichael Stone

David SchlemkoConnor Murphy

Mike Smith

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Kyle Chipchura, Chris Summers

Injured: David Moss (upper body), Brandon Gormley (lower body)

Status Report: Hanzal will play in place of Chipchura, who will be a healthy scratch. ... Tippett said Moss, out since late October with an upper body injury, has began to shoot pucks and is inching closer to a return. Tippett said his return will be a pain tolerance issue. Tippett was hoping Gormley would be able to test his lower-body injury on the ice by the end of the week. ... Varlamov and Mitchell did not make the trip.

Who's Hot: Doan will move into sole possession of 48th place on the League's all-time games played list tonight. He is currently tied with Adam Oates at 1,337 career games. ... Smith’s 1.85 goals against average against Colorado is his lowest against any opponent. ... Gagner has 38 points in 37 career games against the Avalanche, the most against any opponent. ... MacKinnon had a career-high three assists against Carolina and has a team-best 10 points in November.

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