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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Wrapping up season series against Arizona

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Avs looking to go 6-1-1 on the season against the Coyotes

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Colorado Avalanche
Mar 31, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Andre Burakovsky (95) scores a goal past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Ivan Prosvetov (50) as center Christian Dvorak (18) defends in the third period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche: (28-9-4)

The Coyotes: (19-18-5)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. MT

Watch: ALT2, KCOP-13, BSW+

Listen: [Radio] Altitude 92.5, AM 950

The Avalanche are on night two of a back-to-back after taking down the Anaheim Ducks last night. However, the Coyotes also played last night as they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0. Neither team has an advantage for rest as both had to travel as well.

Colorado is now 8-1-1 in their last 10 and look to make it three wins in a row, where as Arizona looks to snap a three game skid and put themselves back in a playoff spot. As most of these games will be, there is lots for both teams to play for here tonight. One team looks to secure first in the division, while the other looks to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Colorado Avalanche

It feels like we say this every time, but the Avs will be looking to further their lead on first once again tonight. Every win they get seems to be followed up by a Vegas one too, which keeps Colorado at four points up. However, tonight is another great chance to get two points. They are 5-1-1 against the Coyotes currently, as this is their last meeting for the regular season. From here on in, the Avs will play the San Jose Sharks (x4), Los Angeles Kings (x4), St. Louis Blues (x4), and the Golden Knights (x2).

There are lots of opportunity for points there, as the California teams are all but out of it now. However, the Avalanche by now know that they can’t take anything for granted. Looking to tonight, the Coyotes are dealing with all kinds of injuries, especially in net. The Avs need to take full advantage of that. Johansson got them a win last night which means Grubauer will likely go in tonight. However, newly-acquired Devan Dubnyk may be ready for a start at some point too. Getting Grubauer some rest wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but there will also be some opportunities near the end of the season for that.

So far today, Colorado has added familiar face Carl Soderberg from the Chicago Blackhawks. He likely won’t be ready today but expect him to make a feature in the lineup as some added depth sometime soon. For tonight, Colorado just needs to play like they have been for the better part of two months now. Hard to complain about 8-1-1, especially since one of those wins was a 9-3 win over Arizona.

The Lineup

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky

Valeri Nichushkin - Tyson Jost - Joonas Donskoi

J.T. Compher - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Liam O’Brien

Defence

Devon Toews - Sam Girard

Ryan Graves - Cale Makar

Kyle Burroughs - Daniel Renouf

Goalies

Phillip Grubauer

Devan Dubnyk

Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes have had quite the season so far. As mentioned earlier, both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta are hurt. An all too familiar story for the team, unfortunately. The two are both very solid when healthy, but it seems to be extremely rare for either of them to stay that way over a full season. Adin Hill is the starter now, but given this is a back-to-back, the Coyotes may be starting 22-year-old Ivan Prosvetov. He was a fourth-round pick back in 2018 and has played in two games so far. Those games have not gone well as he has a 5.0GAA and a .812 save percentage.

Ideally, Hill starts again for the Coyotes but as much as they need the points, they can’t risk losing him to injury as well. It will be an interesting decision for them to make. Either way, they will have to do their best to stop this powerful Avalanche attack that comes in waves. To do this, Arizona will likely want to try and keep it to a low-event game, which is how they’ve been known to win. Generally, when it gets higher scoring, the Coyotes struggle to keep pace. However, they do have some players that can thrive in close games and make the Avalanche pay if they’re not careful. Most notably, Clayton Keller is having a very solid but quiet year. Keeping him contained will be priority number one for Colorado.

The Lineup

Forwards

Michael Bunting — Nick Schmaltz — Conor Garland

Clayton Keller — Cristian Dvorak — Tyler Pitlick

Dryden Hunt — Johan Larsson — Phil Kessel

Christian Fischer — Derrick Brassard — Lawson Crouse

Defence

Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Ilya Lyubushkin

Jakob Chychrun — Alex Goligoski

Jordan Oesterle — Jason Demers

Goalies

Ivan Prosterov

Adin Hill