The Arizona Coyotes are looking for their first win against the Colorado Avalanche this season.
The Arizona Coyotes didn’t play a perfect game against the Minnesota Wild.
They started slow, let their opponent score first, and had to dig themselves out of a two-goal hole. But they mounted a successful comeback, scoring five unanswered goals and winning the game.
Like the Wild, the Colorado Avalanche loom large in the minds of the Coyotes. Meeting in the playoffs will do that, especially when you lose the final two games of the series 7-1.
The Avalanche are better than the Wild and seem poised to be contending for the Stanely Cup for the next few seasons. But that means the Coyotes need to play better tonight than they did in their previous two games.
Arizona needs to continue doing all the good aspects of their game against Minnesota while minimizing their mistakes.
They need to score on the power play and 5-on-5 while having a great penalty kill. The Coyotes need to stay disciplined, not allowing the Avalanche to play with an extra man. And most importantly, they are going to need to start on time.
The Yotes’ inconsistent starts have been a big issue for them this season. They will occasionally make up for it with a dramatic comeback, but that is not a viable plan for long-term success, especially when facing off against a team as good as the Avalanche.
Arizona may have caught the Avalanche at the right time. They are a little banged up and have been having their own issues with inconsistency.
Since their last two wins against the Coyotes, the Avalanche have played four games. Two have been against the San Jose Sharks, the other two have been against the Anaheim Ducks.
They lost their first game against the Scottsdale Sharks 6-2, only to come back and beat them 4-0 two days later.
Both of their games against the Ducks went to overtime, with Colorado beating Anaheim 3-2 last Friday and losing 5-4 on Saturday.
A big factor in the losses may have been injury issues. Nathan MacKinnon missed the last two games, and Cale Makar has missed the past four, and they are two huge pieces to this Colorado lineup. They have also been missing rookie defenseman Bowen Byram and depth player Matt Calvert, both for the past three games.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Conor Garland – Garland had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ last game and had an assist the last time he faced the Colorado Avalanche. He currently leads the Coyotes with 22 points in 23 games.
Colorado: Nazem Kadri – Kadri had two assists against the Anaheim Ducks and had a goal and two assists in the first game he played against the Coyotes this season.
Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon (questionable, head), Matt Calvert (questionable, upper body), Bowen Byram (questionable, upper body), Cale Makar (questionable, upper body), Dennis Gilbert (face), Erik Johnson (upper body), Pavel Francouz (lower body)
Tonight’s game will be at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will be in Colorado. It will be available on ESPN+, Fox Sports Arizona, and Fox Sports 910 AM.
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