Game 29 Preview: Coyotes at Avalanche

It's a little known fact but coyotes are actually fantastic water skiers. - Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

The Avs (20-8-0) return home from the Great Slightly More Frozen Than The Rest Of Us North to take on the slumping Coyotes (16-8-5)

Indulge me a sec while we talk playoffs.

Playoffs?

yeah. playoffs.

Phoenix are one of those rare clubs the Avs don't have a massive games-in-hand tally against. They have played one less game than Phoenix and currently hold a 3-point lead over them, the difference between Wild Card Spot One and Golf. Assuming, as we should, that Chicago and St. Louis are going to one-two the division, in case things come up sour in the race with Minnesota for third, the Avs have got to beat their mid-range Pacific division foes.

Such an opportunity presents itself tonight.

Colorado have been hit a bit by the injury bug lately and will still be without the services of Ryan Wilson, Jan Hejda, and Alex Tanguay tonight, though Wilson and Hejda could both be back by the end of this week. But for tonight Nate Guenin will be asked to slot in next to Erik Johnson once more on the top pairing.

But the Coyotes are hurting too. They're supposed to be without captain and Not "That" Kind Of Player Shane Doan due to the flu, but we've heard that about captains before, Landeskoging dot gif. Lauri Korpikoski is out with injury, and Derek Morris is attending to some sort of family thing so is away from the team. Plus Phoenix have only won three of their last ten games, at least managing the Bettman Bonus three other times.

The last time these two teams saw each other was in a funky, flukey affair in Glendale, which the Avs won in overtime. That was the one where Varly let in a goal from nearly 100 feet, Cody McLeod tied it with like five minutes to play, and Ryan O'Reilly had that ridiculous double-fake snapshot goal (and also the OT winner).

Since Giguere took the last two starts it's reasonable to assume Semyon Varlamov will be back in goal tonight looking to bounce back from an embarrassment to the Oilers, a game in which he let 8 goals in, not that you needed to be reminded of that sordid little affair.

Good Guys (projected)

The Avalanche had an understandable day off yesterday following 3 games in 4 days through western Canada. That means if there's any changes to the lines, we won't know about them until later today, after the morning skate. So these lines are the very definition of projected, based on Sunday night's loss to Vancouver, and if updated news comes down the pipe, I humbly pray to the MHH Pantheon to edit them in that we might bathe in the light of knowledge, and stuff.

Landeskog - Duchene - MacKinnon
O'Reilly - Stastny - Parenteau
McGinn - Mitchell - Talbot
McLeod - Cliche - Bordeleau

Guenin - Johnson
Barrie - Sarich
Benoit - Holden

Varlamov
Giguere

Tanguay (knee), Wilson (bonitis), Hejda (knee), Malone (healthy)

Not gonna try with Phoenix, except to remind you of former Av Radim Vrbata, and hoarder of last names and criminally underrated defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Who helpfully goes by OEL because typing is hard. More coverage can be found at SBN sister site Five for Howling.

TV: Altitude, KTVK (whatever that is), 9:00 EST | 7:00 MST | 02:00 GMT

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