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Coyotes Game 26 Preview: Coyotes looking for third straight win

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The Coyotes are still in Denver as they plan to face the Avalanche for the second time.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

Going into Monday’s game, the Colorado Avalanche had beaten the Arizona Coyotes the last four times they met. But the Coyotes broke the trend, winning 3-2 in regulation.

The Coyotes were able to take a rare early lead, with Derick Brassard getting his fourth of the season on the team’s first power play. Later in the period, they doubled their lead, with Jakob Chychrun scoring his seventh.

But it was far from a perfect game after that period.

Colorado took over in the second, controlling the pace of the period and tying it up. The second period saw the Coyotes recording only three shots on goal, despite having a power play.

But with the game tied at two, it left things up to the third period. It was a mixed bag.

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper had to leave the period, with Antti Raanta taking over. Raanta was great, stopping 13 of 13 shots on net. He needs to continue to be good too, because it looks like Kuemper will be out for a while.

The Coyotes have had goalie health issues in the past and have weathered the storm before. But this is a tough stretch, and the Coyotes have shown that they need great goaltending to stay competitive. That is going to put a lot of pressure on both Raanta and backup goaltender Adin Hill.

Raanta having to make 13 saves in only 17:40 was a sign of a bigger issue. The Avalanche outshot the Coyotes 16-7 in the final period and 35-14 in the entire game. Teams tend to play more defensively when they have the lead, but the Avalanche are too good a team to let them take over like that.

Early leads and power play goals are great, and it was great to see the Coyotes come out hot after so many slow starts. Especially against a team like Colorado, who seems to beat them mentally before the puck even drops. But only recording 14 shots on goal is not a recipe for long-term success on the best of occasions, let alone against the Avalanche.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller had two primary assists on Monday and he is second on the team in both assists and points. He has points in his past five games and is developing into a more consistent player.

Colorado: Andre Burakovsky - Burakovsky had a goal last game and has points in his past two games and he was fourth among Colorado forwards in time on ice.

Injuries

Arizona: Darcy Kuemper (lower body)

Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon (probable, head), Conor Timmins (questionable, upper body), J.T. Compher (questionable, upper body), Bowen Byram (upper body), Cale Makar (upper body), Dennis Gilbert (face), Erik Johnson (upper body), Pavel Francouz (lower body)

Puck Drop

Tonight's game will be at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.