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Coyotes Game 54 Preview: Coyotes host Avalanche in penultimate homestand game

The Arizona Coyotes host the Colorado Avalanche tonight in Arizona.

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

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes had a tough matchup against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, and things aren’t going to get any easier tonight. The long road trip continues with the Desert Dogs hosting another division rival, the Colorado Avalanche.

Arizona had a decent enough game against the Jets, even if they didn’t walk away with the win. They didn’t do much wrong, but they couldn’t string it all together to close things out.

Maybe it was the afternoon start, but the Coyotes had a decent start, especially compared to some of their others lately. They got goals from Jakob Chychrun and Barrett Hayton to start, their first first-period goal in four games.

But the Coyotes will need to find a way to close out games. They do a decent job if they are looking to tie things up in the dying seconds, but they need to find a way to protect their lead in the final frame.

Tonight could be a big night for Finnish forward Matias Maccelli. Maccelli was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and made his North American professional debut this season with the Tucson Roadrunners. In 42 games with the Roadrunners, he has 14 goals and 41 assists.

Maccelli is one of the top rookies in the AHL this season and practiced yesterday on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Phil Kessel. If Maccelli can translate his AHL success to the NHL, he could give the Coyotes a potent second-line.

The last time these two teams met, the Avalanche scored early in the second period and went into the third period with a 2-1 lead. However, Lawson Crouse tied things up with 38 seconds left, and the Coyotes won the shootout. It was a good win, but not a great plan to wait until the game’s final minute to tie things up.

The Colorado Avalanche comes into tonight’s game riding a four-game win streak, beating the New York Islanders, the Vegas Golden Knights, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Detroit Red Wings. Last month they dropped only three games, regulation losses to the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars, and a shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

The Avalanche seemed to take the loss to the Coyotes last month to heart. After dropping the matchup, they had over a week off and responded with a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Colorado managed to pull out a win on Tuesday with three goals in the third period. New York had a 3-2 lead, but an early power play goal from Gabriel Landeskog tied things up, and Andre Burakovsky got the game-winner halfway through the period.

If Arizona wants a chance tonight, they will need to find a way to play a full 60-minute effort. They can’t take their foot off the gas for a second against the Colorado Avalanche because they have plenty of offensive weapons and will make Arizona pay.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Barrett Hayton - Hayton had a highlight-reel goal and an assist against the Jets in probably one of his best games all season. Hayton will have plenty of opportunities as the season comes to an end and players get traded.

Colorado: Gabriel Landeskog - Landeskog had a goal in the Avalanche’s last game and has six in his previous four games. So far, the Coyotes have held him to a single assist in the two games he’s played this season, a trend that the Desert Dogs will be looking to continue.

Injuries

Arizona: Liam O’Brien (upper body), Andrew Ladd (lower body), Johan Larsson (hernia), Jay Beagle (lower body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)

Colorado: Valeri Nichushkin (questionable, upper body), Bowen Byram (head)

Puck Drop

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