This is the biggest game so far this season. Until the next game, that is. Each game from here on out is going to carry that weight until one of two things happen: the Avalanche are in the playoffs or they are out of them.
Like many of the other games coming down the stretch, this one is a four-pointer. The Phoenix Coyotes are also fighting for their playoff lives, so you can guarantee this will have a playoff feel to it. Sitting two spots but only one point behind Colorado, you can be sure both teams will be playing for a regulation win. The Avs are rolling on a win streak with a 7-2-1 record in the last ten games, while the Coyotes are flailing a bit, going 3-4-3.
Phoenix will be without the help of Shane Doan tonight as he was recently suspended for a nasty hit on Jamie Benn Tuesday night. Radim Vrbata may also be out as he has been ill the past few days. The Coyotes will be relying heavily on Ray Whitney who is the team's leading scorer (23g, 46a). Be prepared for him to score; he's 5 points shy of becoming the 79th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career points.
There hasn't been word yet on whether or not Erik Johnson will be in the line up. He missed Tuesday's game against the Flames and yesterday's practice due to back spasms. He is considered questionable. Tyson Barrie will take his spot again if he is unable to play. Ryan O`Reilly, on the other hand, is ready to go despite suffering a broken nose when he was hit with an errant (but apparently completely legal) high stick Tuesday night. Semyon Varlamov will be in net. Go Avs! I'm hankering for some road kill. Oh, and Randy, consider yourself insulted.