The Phoenix Coyotes wrap-up a four-game road trip in Colorado tonight. Phoenix is .500 on the trip (1-1-1) thus far and has fallen out of the top-eight in the West. Colorado enters tonight's game losers of two of three games on their own western Canada trip, including an 8-2 loss in Edmonton on Thursday. The two teams are close to the playoff cutoff line and hope to steal a pair of points away from the other.
Teams at a Glance
|Phoenix Coyotes||Colorado Avalanche|
|Points||37 (5th Pacific)||40 (4th Central)|
|Goals Per Game||3.10 (5th)||2.89 (8th)|
|Goals Against Per Game||3.14 (25th)||2.32 (T-6th)|
|Power Play Percentage||20.8% (7th)||15.7% (22nd)|
|Penalty Kill Percentage||76.4% (27th)||81.6% (18th)|
Losers in six of their last eight games, the Coyotes are looking to rebound and climb back into the playoff picture. Their hot start is slowly fading away as the Coyotes have gone sideways in an extremely tough division and conference.
After a great game in Edmonton where the Yotes exploded for six goals, the road trip soured with a regulation loss to Calgary and an overtime loss to Vancouver. Familiar problems plagued the Coyotes on this trip including defense. Phoenix gave up 14 goals in their last four game, worsening an already mediocre goals against average.
The Coyotes hope to avenge an overtime home loss to the Avalanche a few weeks ago.
Colorado has had some troubles of its own recently, including being outscored 13-6 on its three-game trip through western Canada. The Avs return home to the Pepsi Center where they boast a solid record of 10-4-0.
The Avs' scoring has been spread out in the last three games, with five different players accounting for their six goals and 10 different players recording points. Colorado remains a top-10 offense with high-skill players like Matt Duchene, Nate MacKinnon, Ryan O'Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog. The Avalanche will test Phoenix's shaky defense and penalty kill.
Keys to the Game
- Discipline - Despite Colorado's mediocre PP numbers, they're a dangerous offensive team that can score with the best of 'em.
- Start Strong - Phoenix may have stole a point in Vancouver, but they can't afford to fall behind in the first period, especially by multiple goals.
- Lead Without the Captain - Captain and leading goal-scorer Shane Doan won't to play on Tuesday. Find a way to win without him.
Players to Watch
#50 / Center / Phoenix Coyotes
Jul 20, 1982
|2013 - Antoine Vermette||7||9||16||5||16|
The only Coyote to record a point in all three games of the road trip looks to extend his point-streak to four.
#92 / Left Wing / Colorado Avalanche
Nov 23, 1992
|2013 - Gabriel Landeskog||9||13||22||7||21|
The young captain of the Avs has six points in his last five games and leads his team in scoring.
Projected Starting Goaltenders
#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes
Mar 22, 1982
|2013 - Mike Smith||19||1107||12||3||53||2.87||637||584||.917||0|
Smith should be between the pipes after three days rest. His record is solid even if his peripheral stats leave something to be desired.
#1 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche
Apr 27, 1988
|2013 - Semyon Varlamov||15||850||10||5||31||2.19||450||419||.931||0|
Varlamov has had a stellar season in net and will attempt to defeat the Coyotes for the second time this season.
The Coyotes will be without Shane Doan (flu), Lauri Korpikoski (upper-body) and Derek Morris (family issue). Defenseman Zbynek Michalek is questionable to return for Tuesday's game.
Colorado will be without Jan Hejda (knee), Alex Tanguay (knee) and Ryan Wilson (back).
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on 3TV and heard on KMVP 860 AM.