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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, December 31st (All times eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (19-17-3) at Phoenix Coyotes (20-17-2), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes hope to post their second three-game winning streak of the season tonight when they welcome the Colorado Avalanche to Glendale Arena.

Phoenix has notched consecutive wins over San Jose and Los Angeles, and is 4-1 in its last five games. The lone loss in that stretch was a 7-4 defeat to the Avalanche on Monday in Denver.

In their recent 6-5 overtime win over the Kings, the Coyotes were led by Keith Ballard, who scored two goals, including the shorthanded winner.

Paul Mara added two goals and Curtis Joseph stopped 35 shots for Phoenix, which was led by head coach Wayne Gretzky for the second straight game after his leave of absence. Gretzky had left the club on December 17 to be with his ailing mother, Phyllis, who died two days later from lung cancer. Rick Tocchet served as the interim head coach and the Coyotes went 2-3 during the stretch.

Ladislav Nagy carries a five-game point streak for Phoenix, having tallied one goal and nine assists during the run.

Phoenix, which is 11-7-1 on home ice, will visit Los Angeles on Thursday.

Colorado, meanwhile, has lost its last two games, including Friday's 5-2 setback in San Jose. Joe Thornton had two goals and an assist to lead the Sharks.

Joe Sakic and Alex Tanguay scored for the Avalanche, who have lost three of their last four games. Goaltender David Aebischer stopped 38 shots in the defeat.

The Avs' Rob Blake stretched his point streak to five games, checking in with one goal and five assists over that span.

Colorado, which is 9-10-0 on the road, will host Nashville on Tuesday.

The Avalanche are 2-0 against the Coyotes this season, and have won the last four meetings overall.

Colorado has won in its last two trips to the Phoenix area.

12/31 10:22:13 ET

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