Avalanche Vs. Coyotes: Last Game Before Break

The Colorado Avalanche host the Phoenix Coyotes at Pepsi Center, their second meeting in January. Phoenix won the first game 2-0 on the strength of backup goalie Jason LaBarbera's 34 saves.

These two teams appear different now than the beginning of the month. Phoenix traded forward (and former Avalanche) Wojtek Wolski to the New York Rangers for defenseman Michal Rozsival, while the Avalanche have welcomed back Chris Stewart to the lineup and lost forward Tomas Fleischmann for the rest of the season.

Phoenix has lost four of five games -- with all four losses occurring at home -- and have struggled after winning six of eight games to start off the new year. They lost 4-3 on Tuesday night to the Edmonton Oilers. Defenseman Keith Yandle continues to lead the team in scoring and has 12 points in the past 10 games.

Colorado is coming off a huge win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night, 4-3, and look to enter this weekend's All-Star break with some momentum. With Peter Forsberg looking more and more likely to sign a contract with the team shortly after the break, it is imperative that Colorado fight its way back into playoff contention. Even with their recent struggles -- 5-4-1 in the past 10 games -- Colorado is tied for seventh in the Western Conference, only four points out of fourth place and home ice advantage. Since Phoenix is one point ahead of Colorado in the standings, the winner of tonight's game is guaranteed at least sixth in the conference heading into the break.

Peter Budaj will start in net tonight for Colorado. Jason LaBarbera is likely getting the start in net for Phoenix after his recent performance.

UPDATE: Ilya Bryzgalov will likely start his second straight game in net for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Puck drops at 7:00 pm MST.

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