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Arizona Coyotes to face Colorado Avalanche in playoff series

DENVER, COLORADO - OCTOBER 12: Michael Grabner #40 of the Arizona Coyotes advances the puck against Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche in the first period at the Pepsi Center on October 12, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes will face the Colorado Avalanche in their next postseason series, their second of the 2020 postseason and the first within the 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs tournament.

The Coyotes already faced the Nashville Predators and won the best-of-five series 3-1. That was part of the NHL’s Qualifying Round, a first-of-its-kind postseason series in the altered format in the wake of the coronavirus. For statistical purposes, that was a playoff series, but Arizona’s series against Colorado will be the first in the official Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Colorado went 42-20-8 in the regular season, the third-best record in the NHL and the second-best in the Western Conference.

Hart Trophy (MVP) finalist Nathan MacKinnon led the Avs with 93 points in the regular season, scoring 35 goals with 58 assists. Fellow forwards Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog each missed part of the season with injuries but still combined for 40 goals. Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) finalist Cale Makar highlights their defensive group.

Colorado and Arizona faced off down the stretch in a tight playoff race for the last Wild Card spot last season. The Avalanche finished ahead of the Coyotes by four points, keeping the Coyotes out of the postseason. The two teams faced each other in one of the last games of the regular season in 2019, a playoff-like contest, and Arizona lost 3-2 in the shootout.

During this regular season, the Coyotes went 1-0-1 against the Avs.

In 2019-20, Colorado ranked fourth in the NHL in goals per game (3.37), sixth-best in goals allowed per game (2.71), 19th in power play (19.1%) and 12th in penalty kills (81.4%).

The Avalanche’s goaltending tandem consists of Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz. Their head coach is Jared Bednar.

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