By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play a special MLK Day matinee game on Monday against the Colorado Avalanche at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 2 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (20-18-7) will enter the game looking to snap a three-game winless streak (0-1-2).
Monday’s game is the third of four between the Coyotes and Avalanche this season. So far, the teams have played twice in Denver with each team winning once.
The Coyotes will be back on home ice for the first time since captain Shane Doan
notched his first NHL hat trick vs. the New York Islanders on Jan 7. Including this game, Phoenix will play eight of its next 10 games in Glendale.
"This is going to be a big part of our season and we have to find ways to take care of home ice and find ways to win," Doan said.
will be in goal for the Coyotes looking to continue his strong netminding. Smith has stopped 129 of 134 in his last four starts to move into eighth place among NHL goaltenders in save percentage (.925).
The Coyotes, who rank ninth in the NHL at 2.53 goals per game, have scored just six in the past three games. Forward Radim Vrbata
has netted three of those – one in each game.
Defenseman Adrian Aucoin
, who scored his second goal of the season before suffering a lower-body injury in Friday’s 4-3 loss at Columbus, did not practice on Sunday and likely won’t play on Monday. If Aucoin sits, Chris Summers
, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Saturday, will take his place in the lineup.
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Avalanche (24-20-2) will enter the game having won 10 of their past 14 games, including a 2-1 victory on Saturday night at Dallas.
Forward Ryan O’Reilly, the younger brother of Coyotes center Cal O’Reilly, is leading the Avalanche with 33 points.
Left wing Gabriel Landeskog ranks first on the team and first among NHL rookies with 134 shots on goal. He also is ranked in the top-10 in goals, assists, points and plus-minus among this year’s necomers.
Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere has played Colorado’s last two games and likely will start again on Monday. Giguere ranks seventh in the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average.
Center Peter Mueller, who played 207 games for the Coyotes before being dealt to Colorado in 2010, has played the past two games. Before that, Mueller had been limited to just three games this season because of a concussion.