After an unbelievable January, the Colorado Avalanche look to extend their winning streak by one more game before they head into the NHL All Star Break.
After the Avs swept a back-to-back with the Coyotes a few weeks ago, they will need to be mindful that they don’t look last tonight and allow it to turn into a trap game.
With Nathan MacKinnon on the shelf until after the break, the Avs will look to their other All Stars - and superstars who should be All Stars but aren’t - to finish off the (unofficial) first half of the season on a winning note. Sitting tied with Connor McDavid for third in NHL scoring, Nazem Kadri has turned his contract year into one of the ages. He’s only four points behind Jonathan Huberdeau in the Art Ross trophy race and he has become a huge reason why the Avs are comfortable giving MacKinnon a little extra time to get healthy before returning to the lineup.
On the back end, Ryan Murray is expected to be back in the lineup tonight for the first time since January 14th as he is slotted to replace Kurtis MacDermid on the blueline. MacDermid is expected to move up to the fourth line to replace Dylan Kikura
Gabriel Landeskog (92) - Mikko Rantanen (96) - Valeri Nichushkin (13)
Alex Newook (18) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Andre Burakovsky (95)
Tyson Jost (17) - J.T. Compher (37) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Mikhail Maltsev (11) - Nicolas Aube-Kubel (16)
Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Jack Johnson (3) - Samuel Girard (49)
Ryan Murray (28) - Erik Johnson (6)
The Coyotes come into this game having lost five games in a row and sitting dead last in the Western Conference standings. With the end goal being a top pick in the coming draft, the guys in the Arizona lineup are playing for pride, future jobs and in some cases they’re auditioning for potential suitors at the trade deadline.
Aside from Clayton Keller, there isn’t a single Coyotes player who has done much to impress anyone this season. His 35 points in 43 games leads the team and in all liklihood, Keller is one of only two or three players from tonight’s lineup that will be with the Coyotes long term.
Clayton Keller (9) - Travis Boyd (72) - Nick Schmaltz (8)
Andrew Ladd (16) - Ryan Dzingel (10) - Phil Kessel (81)
Antoine Roussel (26) - Riley Nash (20) - Christian Fischer (36)
Lawson Crouse (67) - Alex Galchenyuk (17) - Loui Eriksson (21)
Kyle Capobianco (75) - Shayne Gositsbehere (14)
Jakob Chychrun (6) - Ilya Lyubushkin (46)
Janis Moser (62) - Anton Stralman (86)
Darcy Kuemper will be getting the start against his former team. The Avs starter comes into tonight’s game with a 21-5-1 record and a .915 sv%. For Arizona, we are going to see Scott Wedgewood. The Coyotes netminder will be looking to improve on his 4-11-3 season record.