A large portion of players on the Colorado Avalanche are headed home for the holidays, either late tonight or early tomorrow, but they’ve got some work to focus on before they can hit the road.
Saturday night marks the first of back-to-back games against the Arizona Coyotes, as the Avalanche will head to Tempe after the Christmas break for the rematch. The last time these two teams played, it was a highly entertaining game at Mullett Arena, with Arizona coming out on in overtime.
Since then, the Coyotes have alternated winning streaks. Right now, they’re on a four game winning streak, which has come on the heels of a four game winning streak.
Jared Bednar knows exactly what his team has to do to be successful against the much-improved Coyotes squad.
“You got to check these guys,” he said. “This is one of the top teams in the league at creating offense right now. They’re super fast, talented, and they don’t give the puck up. They hang onto it and don’t like to dump it…they’re a good hockey team.”
After practice on Friday, the Avalanche sent Ben Meyers back to the Colorado Eagles. That signaled the NHL team was likely going to get someone back, and that someone is Andrew Cogliano. After morning skate, the veteran winger said he’s good to go on Saturday night.
He took a big hit into the boards the last game he played, and did return that game, but took some time off to heal up.
“I think I’m at a point now where I’m always a guy that wants to come back in games,” Cogliano said. “After playing 17 years, things get sore and things hurt, and I think I’m at my best when I’m at 100%. Took the last couple games just to get right, but I feel good. I’m excited to play tonight.”
Expect Cogliano to return on a line with Ryan Johansen and Logan O’Connor. Bednar discussed Johansen’s game, and did come to the defense of the center a little bit.
“Well, he’s got 10 goals, so he has some offensive production,” Bednar said. “I just think that he’s been, like a lot of the rest of our team right now, a little bit inconsistent.”
Other News And Notes
- Artturi Lehkonen skated with the team for most of morning skate in a non-contact jersey. Just another sign that he’s progressing.
- Also out there was Sam Girard, who will likely continue to skate over the Holiday break. He isn’t going to play tonight, and has only been cleared by the NHL and NHLPA to practice at this point.
- Alexandar Georgiev will start in net.
- Both Nathan MacKinnon and Josh Manson missed morning skate, but that was for maintenance. Both are expected to play on Saturday.
- Connor Ingram will start for the Coyotes.
- An interesting stat here – the Avalanche haven’t beaten a team in a playoff position since beating the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 22. They can change that tonight.