The Arizona Coyotes put a scare into the Colorado Avalanche the last time they were at Ball Arena. The Avalanche aren’t the only team they’ve made life difficult for recently.
Friday night is the first of two straight games against the pesky Coyotes, and the Avalanche will get some reinforcements back for the game.
Both Cale Makar and Erik Johnson will return to the lineup for the Avalanche. Makar will go back to running the top powerplay unit, and Johnson will immediately step back into a penalty killing role for the team.
Don’t expect any changes up front for the Avalanche, which means Alex Newhook will stay in the top six. I spoke to him after morning skate about how he felt he handled the move up from the fourth line.
“I felt good,” Newhook told me. “I’ve been trying to do my best to make the most of the opportunity that I’ve had recently. I was excited and ready for the bump up the lineup, and felt good. Obviously, it would have been nice to get a couple, but thought I had a few good looks. Just got to build off of it and keep getting better.”
Alexandar Georgiev is expected to start in net.
A key for the Avalanche will be slowing down the red-hot Clayton Keller. Since Feb. 1, only Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon have more points than the Coyotes winger. He’s already set a career high with 78 points this season, and is only eight points away from breaking the Coyotes record for points in a season.
These two teams will meet again on Sunday for the last time this year.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Denis Malgin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Alex Newhook – J.T. Compher – Valeri Nichushkin
Andrew Cogliano – Lars Eller – Logan O’Connor
Matt Nieto – Darren Helm – Alex Galchenyuk
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Samuel Girard – Bowen Byram
Jack Johnson – Erik Johnson
Expected Arizona Coyotes Lines, per DailyFaceoff.com
Schmaltz – Hayton – Keller
Maccelli – McBain – Crouse
Kellemen – Boyd – Fischer
O’Brien – Dauphin – Imama
Valimaki – Kesselring
Nemeth – Moser
Mackey – Soderstrom
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 24.9%, 4th in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 78.8%, 17th in NHL
Arizona Coyotes Power Play: 19.5%, 23rd in NHL
Arizona Coyotes Penalty Kill: 76.3%, 21st in NHL
How to Watch
TV: Altitude TV, ESPN+
Radio: Altitude Sports Radio 92.5
Game Time: 7:00 PM MST