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Arizona Coyotes visit Colorado Avalanche on brief road trip.

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The Yotes and the Avs do battle to stay off the bottom.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes travel to the Pepsi Center to take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight. Both teams are coming off 5-1 losses against the teams ranked second in their respective divisions.

The Coyotes will be looking to quickly make amends after a disastrous effort against the Anaheim Ducks, raised fears that Arizona’s short lived winning streak was nothing more than a fluke.

View from Arizona

You’re down, then you’re up, then you’re down again. Just when the Coyotes build some momentum and hope, they go and lose to the Anaheim Ducks 5-1 in a thoroughly deflating performance.

Louis Domingue should have had the whole game off against the Ducks but instead only missed two thirds of the game after being pulled in favor of Justin Peters. Domingue should have had the night off not so he could rest, but so his confidence could remain untouched and unaffected by the poor play of those in front of him.

Ultimately the loss against the Ducks was not Domingue’s fault so much as it was the entire lineup’s fault. The Sedona Red weren't ready to play back to back games of hockey. Domingue was hot going in to the game and given how long the break has been between visiting Colorado and playing against the Ducks it was entirely feasible to play the in form goaltender.

The chop and change Coyotes are now back in last place in the Western Conference and the entire NHL - they need this win badly.

View from Colorado

For the perspective from Colorado, check out Mile High Hockey.

Colorado are 5-6-0 after 11 games so far in the season and most recently suffered in a similar manner to the Coyotes, losing 5-1 against the ever strong St. Louis Blues.

The Avalanche find themselves uncomfortably close to the bottom of their conference, sharing a -11 goal differential with the Coyotes. Colorado will want to make short work out of the visiting, disgruntled Arizona team if they want to legitimize their stakes in the playoff race. If they don’t they soon risk falling in with the wrong crowd.

Last time these teams met Matt Duchene took advantage of the Coyotes’ disinterest in him, scoring 2 goals and leading the Avalanche to a 3-2 victory at Gila River Arena. Colorado can hope Arizona don’t tighten their watch on him this time around.

Three Questions

  1. Will Anthony DeAngelo add anything to the Coyotes in his debut? - All signs point toward the troubled but talented defender making his NHL debut against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. He had an excellent preseason, but can he translate preseason and AHL success into NHL success fast enough to keep a spot on the roster?
  2. Can the Coyotes play hockey properly in the 1st period? - Across the Coyotes’ last three first periods, they have given up 53 shots against while only managing to take 16 shots of their own. While the Coyotes eventually ground-out wins in two of these games, this is an abysmal trend that if allowed to continue will result in more loses like against the Ducks than victories like against the Predators.
  3. Will Shane Doan turn up to play? - It’s always hard to call out our beloved captain, but since the 4th game of the season Doan has gone without recording a point. It would be easy to ignore this if Doan had been contributing off the puck but he simply has not been doing enough in any area of his game to be noticed. Given his age, current production and the Coyotes’ current form, we are in a period of time where it may be more beneficial to the franchise to play a rookie in his place. However if he turns up like he did last season it’s going to go a long way to getting the Coyotes some much needed points.

Players to Watch

Colorado - Matt Duchene - Duchene just knows how to make the Coyotes pay. Connor Murphy and Luke Schenn need to ensure Duchene feels scared when near the puck. As for the rest of the Coyotes’ lineup, they need to ensure Duchene is always being watched otherwise he will make short work out of Arizona once more.

Arizona - Dylan Strome - Everyone wants Strome to score his first NHL goal, but who will he score against? After two strong games and nearly scoring against San Jose and Nashville, Strome had a pretty dreadful game against the Ducks. Strome needs to come out with everything he has (similar to how Christian Dvorak went against the Predators) in order to avoid being sent back to major-junior this season.

Injury Report

Arizona still has Mike Smith on injured reserve, while Michael Stone, Tobias Rieder, and Martin Hanzal are all considered questionable for tonight’s game.

The Colorado Avalanche have a healthy roster apart from Blake Comeau who appears will miss a period of time due to a lower-body injury.

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game gets underway at 7 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or listen on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.