Tonight is more than an ordinary road game for the Colorado Avalanche. It’s the team’s last game before a short Christmas break, but more importantly, it’s a celebration of historical growth in the game of hockey.
Tonight, the Arizona Coyotes welcome the Avs as they celebrate Women’s Hockey Appreciation Night. The celebration will shine a light on the growth of the women’s game and will feature Arizona native Lyndsey Fry, who spent time with the Colorado Select organization.
Cat Silverman took a more in-depth look at Women’s Hockey Night in Arizona and will be in the arena to cover the game for Mile High Hockey.
As for the game itself, the Coyotes are coming off of a 3-2 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals last night. Backup Scott Wedgewood got the win as rookie sensation Clayton Keller scored the overtime winner.
The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Coyotes who will be looking to fend off a more well-rested Avs team.
Tonight is a great opportunity for the Avs to improve on their 6-9-3 record away from the Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche will have Erik Johnson back in the lineup after he sat out the previous two games due to a suspension. The team played well without him, but it will be a huge boost to get their best defenseman back.
The team has been playing a lot better defensively as of late, but unfortunately, they have been relying far too much on offense from the top line. If Nathan MacKinnon isn’t scoring, no one else really is.
Tonight will be a good chance for the Avs secondary forwards to take advantage of a tired and leaky blueline.
There is no confirmation yet, but with EJ’s return to the lineup, there is a good chance Coach Bednar foes back to a lineup of 11 forwards and 7 defensemen.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - Alex Kerfoot - J.T. Compher
Blake Comeau - Carl Soderberg - Matt Nieto
Sven Andrighetto - Colin Wilson
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Patrik Nemeth - Tyson Barrie
Sam Girard - Mark Barberio
The Coyotes are led by budding superstar Clayton Keller. A year removed from a dominant freshman year at Boston University, Keller has been outstanding for Arizona and is among the front-runners for the Calder Trophy.
The Coyotes have the youngest forward group in the NHL and as a result, they are exciting but make a ton of mistakes.
Niklas Hjalmarsson’s injury leaves a huge hole on Arizona’s blueline that already surrenders more goals than any other team in the NHL.
Anthony Duclair is expected to return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past few games.
Tobias Rieder - Derek Stepan - Anthony Duclair
Clayton Keller - Max Domi - Christian Fischer
Josh Archibald - Christian Dvorak - Zac Rinaldo
Jordan Martinook - Brad Richardson - Nick Cousins
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Jason Demers
Jakob Chychrun - Alex Goligoski
Kevin Connauton - Luke Schenn
After starting backup Scott Wedgwood last night, the Coyotes will go with Antti Raanta tonight. After battling injuries for most of the season, Raanta is healthy and sporting a .916 sv%.
For the Avs, we will see Semyon Varlamov back between the pipes. Varly has an 11-8-2 record this season while putting up a below average .908 sv% - something he will definitely want to improve on.
How to Watch/Listen
Puck drop is set for 6pm MST and the game can be seen on both Altitude 2 and Fox Sports - Arizona.
You can also listen to the game with our friend Marc Moser on Altitude Sports Radio 950AM.