If the Phoenix Coyotes are hoping to pull out a win tonight in Colorado, they'll have to do it without their starting goaltender. Ilya Bryzgalov, who missed five games in December with an upper-body injury, will not be in the lineup tonight and did not travel with the team. Jason LaBarbera is expected to start, with San Antonio callup, Matt Climie, backing him up.
There is good news for the Coyotes, however. Kyle Turris, who left Tuesday's win against the Columbus Blue Jackets with his own upper-body injury is expected to be in the lineup at the Pepsi Center on Thursday.
For the Coyotes to win, they'll have to slow down one of the fastest teams in the NHL. Quite similar to the Coyotes of last season, the speed of the Avalanche gives teams fits on a nightly basis. Led by forward Matt Duchene, the Avs currently sit in fifth in the Western Conference, three points ahead of Phoenix.
Duchene is the team's leading scorer, with 40 points, including 16 goals. He has six points in his last five, all of which he has registered a point in. It's his third point streak of at least four games this season.
Speaking of point streaks, Shane Doan will put his own on the line in Denver on Thursday night. The Coyotes' captain has notched a point in seven in a row, with four consecutive multi-point games. His streak has helped spark the Coyotes offensively.
Phoenix has netted 18 goals in their last six, a contrast to where they were towards the end of December, when they were held to just one goal for four games in a row.
While the Coyotes gained confidence in their win over Columbus on Tuesday, they will need that to translate over to the Pepsi Center on Thursday. The Coyote blue liners will have their handfuls with the speedy forwards of Colorado, so confidence on the offensive side is a must to keep Phoenix in the game.