The Arizona Coyotes have won one, lost one, and took one to overtime on their four-game homestand. They'll have one last opportunity to get points on this stretch against the worst team in the league this season in the Colorado Avalanche.
View From Colorado
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You can make a decent case that the Colorado Avalanche are the worst team of the salary cap era. There are still a few games left of the season so it remains to be seen how the Avalanche will finish compared to some of the other bad teams of the past, but unfortunately for the Avalanche there isn’t a generational talent like Connor McDavid to tank for this season. It’s tough to describe the Avalanche as a team that is tanking though; a better description is they are a bad team that has had some bad luck. Not exactly a silver lining.
Colorado was the center of trade rumors recently when it was thought that they may move center Matt Duchene at the deadline. Duchene currently leads the Avalanche in goals and is second in points and could have potentially earned a solid return, but the Avalanche ended up not trading the center before the deadline. It doesn’t appear that Duchene will re-sign in Colorado, but it's possible teams didn’t want to give up too much for a player they could lose in two seasons.
View From Arizona
Arizona had a chance to earn two points against a struggling team in the New Jersey Devils and they managed to do so, although the game probably wasn’t what they were looking for. After an early 4-0 lead after the first the Coyotes allowed the Devils to come back to within one for a final score of 5-4. Granted the offense is definitely something we can all be happy about, and getting that offense from rookies like Brendan Perlini, Jakob Chychrun, and Anthony DeAngelo definitely should lead to hope for the future.
1. Will the rookies stay hot? This year Coyotes fans were definitely looking forward to the youth movement, and unfortunately it hasn’t turned out the way we would hope. None of the players including the rookies have been having great seasons, but the Yotes rookies have been steadily improving throughout the season and have been playing solid lately.
2. Can the Yotes tighten up on defense? Scoring five goals is good, but I doubt anyone on the team is happy that the Desert Dogs gave up four goals in the same game.
3. Can the Coyotes maintain a lead? The Coyotes never lost their lead against the Devils, but they let the Devils get very close to tying up the game or taking the lead. If the Coyotes are up 4-0 they need to keep their foot on the gas and not let the other team get any momentum back.
Players to Watch
Colorado – Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon isn’t exactly on a hot streak, no Avalanche players really are, but he is still probably the best player on a very bad team. Like Mike Smith, MacKinnon was an All Star this season because each team gets a representative, not because he necessarily earned his spot.
Arizona – Tobias Reider. Reider has six points in his last five games having had multipoint nights against the Devils and against the Buffalo Sabres. Although it took longer for Reider to re-sign this past offseason he has pulled together a solid season as a solid depth player who can score some goals.
Nikita Zadorov and Semyon Varlamov are both out for the rest of the season with ankle and groin injuries respectively.
For the Coyotes Kevin Connauton, Alexander Burmistrov, and Brad Richardson are all out indefinitely with Connauton and Burmistrov both with upper body injuries and Richardson out with a lower body injury.
Tonight’s game will be at 7pm Arizona Time at Gila River Arena. It will be airing on Fox Sports Arizona and ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.