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Coyotes Game 36 Preview: Coyotes looking for a better outcome tonight against Avalanche

The Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche back-to-back finishes up tonight with a game at Gila River Arena.

Arizona Coyotes v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Game Preview

After facing off against each other last night in Denver, the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche are back in action tonight in Arizona for the second game of a back-to-back.

The Coyotes did better than most people would have expected against the Avalanche, one of the top teams in the NHL. They came back from an early 2-0 deficit and forced the game to the shootout, which they, unfortunately, lost in the third round.

Arizona didn’t play as well as they could have despite walking away with a point. The Avalanche did a great job controlling the game’s pace and outshot the Coyotes 47-26. Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov stood on his head throughout the game, making some massive saves that kept the Desert Dogs in the game.

Special teams were a bit of a mixed bag for the Coyotes. Their penalty kill looked great, killing all five of the Avalanche’s power plays while scoring Clayton Keller’s short-handed goal. But, unfortunately, their power play couldn’t make anything happen even with a full two-minute 5-on-3. If they had scored there, or in their final power play with 1:45 remaining in regulation, things could have ended very differently.

But if the Coyotes are going to have success tonight, they will need to find a way to clean things up. They need to take fewer penalties and spend less time defending.

Arizona may be catching the Avalanche at the right time for this back-to-back. The Avalanche are a great team that is rocketing up the Central Division, but they seem to have issues finishing games.

Last night wasn’t the first time Colorado struggled to put away an opponent. The Chicago Blackhawks also took them to overtime, and Colorado only beat the lowly Seattle Kraken by one goal. The Avalanche are still winning games, and their point streak is currently at seven games with last night’s win, but they maybe aren’t playing as well as they could be.

After seeing Ivan Prosvetov and Pavel Francouz last night, we will likely see former-Coyote Darcy Kuemper and Karel Vejmelka in net tonight. Kuemper has struggled a little with his new team, and in 24 games, he has a 2.86 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. But we have seen former Coyotes play their best hockey against the Desert Dogs this season, so he’ll probably stand on his head tonight.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Phil Kessel - Kessel had two assists last night, his second multi-point game of the month. He showed what he could do when he dangled the puck around multiple Avalanche players to find a wide-open Shayne Gostisbehere, who scored the Coyotes’ third goal.

Colorado: Nazem Kadri - Kadri had the lone goal in the shootout last night and currently leads the Avalanche with 48 points. He got close a few times in regulation, and you can expect he will make an impact tonight as well.

Injuries

Arizona: Scott Wedgewood (COVID-19 protocol), Cam Dineen (COVID-19 protocol), Anton Strålman (COVID-19 protocol), Kyle Capobianco (COVID-19 protocol), Barrett Hayton (hand), Jay Beagle (lower body), Jakob Chychrun (upper body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)

Colorado: Bowen Byram (questionable, head), Darren Helm (questionable, lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (COVID-19 protocol), Jacob MacDonald (upper body), Stefan Matteau (leg)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be at Gila River Arena and will start at 7:00 pm Arizona time. The game will air on Bally Sports Arizona and 620 AM.