By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will conclude a six-game homestand tonight when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (42-25-11) will enter the game in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, three points behind third-place Detroit but just two points ahead of seventh-place Anaheim.
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Tonight’s matchup is the final matchup between the Coyotes and Avalanche this season. Phoenix has won the first three games and has outscored Colorado, 10-2, in those games. Moreover, Phoenix is 6-0-1 vs. the Avs in the last seven games played at Jobing.com Arena.
will start in goal for the Coyotes, who are 9-2-1 in their past 12 games and 3-2-0 on their season-long six-game homestand thus far. Bryzgalov will enter the game tied with Bob Essensa on the franchise's all-time victories list (129).
“It doesn't mean anything to me," said Bryzgalov, who has a 1.54 goals-against average in his last nine starts. "… I'm not chasing any records."
► The first 10,000 fans who arrive at tonight’s game will be given a Bryzgalov bobblehead doll
The Coyotes will be looking to give Bryzgalov more offensive support tonight than they have in recent games; Phoenix has notched just eight goals in the past five contests.
Winger Taylor Pyatt
has produced a team-high four points vs. Colorado this season, but Head Coach Dave Tippett on Friday said Pyatt might not play tonight because of a minor injury. Meanwhile, defenseman Ed Jovanovski
, and forwards Lauri Korpikoski
and Martin Hanzal
will miss the game because of injuries.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Colorado (28-40-8) has lost 26 of its past 30 games, including four games in a row. On Thursday, the Avs lost, 3-2, to Nashville at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Paul Stastny and David Jones scored goals in the third period, but the comeback fell short.
Though they’ve scored only 59 goals in their last 30 games, the Avs are a top-10 power-play team at 18.9 percent. That’s the good news when it comes to special teams. The bad news is Colorado ranks dead last in the NHL in penalty killing at just 76. 2 percent.
Peter Budaj will start in goal for the Avalanche, who allow an NHL-worst 3.54 goals per game. Budaj has lost his past six decisions and allowed 20 goals in those games.
Center Matt Duchene leads the team in goals (27) and points (62). Defenseman John-Michael Liles is the top assist man with 38.
“It's a very important game,” Tippett said. “There should be no feeling that we can let this one go by. There has to be urgent effort all the time."
North/Eastbound Loop 101 will be closed between Bell Road and 51st Avenue from 9 p.m. on Friday until 5 a.m. on Monday.