The Arizona Coyotes (10-9-2) are on a two-game winning streak after beating a couple of NHL powerhouses, but it does not get any easier tonight as they face the Colorado Avalanche (15-6) inside Mullett Arena at 7 p.m.
On a three-game skid, the Coyotes broke that stretch into pieces as they blanked the 2022-23 Stanley Cup Champions, the Vegas Golden Knights 2-0 in “Sin City” on Nov. 25.
Following getting a 34-save shutout vs. Vegas, Arizona goaltender Connor Ingram started against the team that drafted him, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and only gave up 1 goal on 31 shots to help the ‘Yotes claim a 3-1 win.
With those two victories in the books, the Coyotes have another tough test against the Central Division leaders in Colorado.
Winning seven out of their last-eight games and in their past four, the Avalanche has remained one of the stronger forces in the NHL since being crowed champions in 2021-22.
Last time out, Colorado center Ryan Johansen scored twice in a 4-1 victory over the Lightning on Nov. 27.
Despite the Avalanche possessing speed and having dangerous players throughout their lineup , if Arizona continues to play how they have been lately, tonight could get very interesting.
Saving 64 of his last 65 shots in the past two games, Ingram will get another start tonight for Arizona.
Additionally, Ingram is remarkably 8-3 this season with a 2.49 goals-against-average and .924 save-percentage.
After splitting the net 50/50 with the Coyotes other goaltender Karel Vejmelka, Arizona head coach André Tourigny will ride with who is hot as of late.
Furthermore, ‘Yotes left wing Clayton Keller remains the leader of his team in points with 19 (8 goals, 11 assists).
Arizona defenseman Matt Dumba returned from a lower-body injury against Tampa and should be fine going forward.
Also, ‘Yotes Juuso Välimäki (upper body) will return tonight after taking a puck to the mouth against the Dallas Stars on Nov. 14.
On the other hand, the Avalanche have depth from the top of their roster to the bottom, but have a three-headed monster that grabs the spotlight almost every time they are on the ice.
First, Colorado possess the one of the best defensemen in the whole league: Cale Makar.
Sitting in fourth place in the entire NHL for points, Makar continues to shred his competition as he has scored 6 goals and 26 assists for 32 points in just 21 games.
Not far behind Makar, Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and power forward Mikko Rantanen remain one of the most dominant duel threats in terms of forwards in hockey.
This season, MacKinnon has recorded 7 goals and 21 assists while Rantanen has 12 goals (team lead) and 15 assists in 21 contests.
Moving forward, Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev gets the nod to patrol the crease tonight.
Ex-Coyote Ivan Prosvetov returns to the valley for the first time since being waived on Oct. 8, but will back-up Georgiev tonight.
As for absences for the Avalanche, defenseman Samuel Girard entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program earlier this week and is out indefinitely.
Colorado forward Artturi Lekhonen is on injured reserve after his head collided with the boards in a game against the Seattle Kraken on Nov. 13.
Last year, the Coyotes were 1-1-2 last season vs. the Avalanche in four games.
First, Arizona left wing Lawson Crouse had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win over Colorado at Mullett Arena on Dec. 27, 2022.
Then, the Avalanche took down the ‘Yotes 3-2 on Mar. 11 after Makar scored an overtime winner on Ingram.
Next, both Makar and MacKinnon potted a goal and assisted twice each to power them to a 3-1 victory on Mar. 24.
And to complete the season series, Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin netted a shootout decider for a 4-3 result in the desert on Mar. 26.