Zac Rinaldo could be staring at a suspension, which could prevent a “Slap Shot” sequel when the Arizona Coyotes visit the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday in the back end of a home-and-home set. Rinaldo has a hearing with the NHL’s safely department for sucking-punching Colorado rookie Samuel Girard in Saturday’s loss.
Rinaldo, who already has drawn four suspensions during his career, waived his right to an in-person hearing and instead with have a phone hearing with the NHL on Wednesday. Rinaldo’s actions touched off a skirmish that the Colorado players said provided a spark in the 6-2 drubbing at Arizona. After opening December with four consecutive defeats, the Avalanche have collected points in six of their last eight games (5-2-1), while sending the league-worst Coyotes to their eighth defeat in their past nine. “We’ve got to reboot,” Arizona coach Tocchet said. “You can go two ways as an individual. You can just feel sorry for yourself in the next 40 and just have a worse year than you have or you can bounce back.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, Altitude2 (Colorado)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (8-25-5): Arizona ranks 30th in the league with an average of 2.2 goals per game and has scored only 14 times during the 1-7-1 slide. Ironically, both goals in Saturday’s loss to the Avalanche came from Derek Stepan, who became the third player in franchise history to record two short-handed tallies in one game. Rookie Clayton Keller, the team’s leading scorer, picked up an assist Saturday to extend his point streak to five games.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (17-15-3): Colorado has yet to provide an update on the injury to defenseman Tyson Barrie, who suffered a fracture in his hand after blocking a shot in Saturday’s game, according to coach Jared Bednar. Barrie is third on the team in scoring with 27 points, which is more than halfway to eclipsing his career best of 53 established in 2014-15. Leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon earned a game misconduct Saturday, halting his point streak at four games.
1. Colorado has killed off all 23 short-handed situations in the past eight games.
2. Arizona has lost six straight road games to fall to 4-13-4 away from home.
3. Wednesday’s matchup is the opener of a six-game homestand for Colorado that will feature a bevy of contenders.
OVERTIME: Avalanche 4, Coyotes 2