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Avalanche opens home run by facing Coyotes

Phoenix (16-14-4) at Colorado (16-16-1) 9:00 p.m. EST

DENVER (Ticker) -- The Colorado Avalanche plan on spending much

of their time home for the holidays.

The Avalanche start a stretch that will see them play 15 of

their next 19 games at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday against Wayne

Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes.

Coach Tony Granato will give the netminding duties to Andrew

Raycroft, who has been stellar of late, picking up two wins on

the team's recent road trip.

"He's coming off two very solid games," Granato said on the

team's web site. "Peter (Budaj) has been very good for us all

year, so it has nothing to do with Peter not playing well. It's

just the fact that Andrew went into two tough buildings and

found ways to win."

Raycroft is 5-1-0 with a 2.79 goals-against average in seven

appearances, earning him some more work. He posted wins at

Detroit and Tampa Bay on December, respectively.

The upcoming run is critical to the playoff hopes of the

Avalanche, who are tied for last in the Northwest Division with

33 points. However, they are only eight points back of the

first-place Vancouver Canucks.

Colorado has played 14 home games as opposed to 19 on the road.

Its home total is the third-lowest in the league, trailing only

the Edmonton Oilers (12) and Florida Panthers (13).

They also can catch a Coyotes team that is coming off a loss

Monday in Edmonton. The Coyotes saw their 4-0-2 run end with

the 4-2 loss.

Martin Hanzal and Enver Lisin each tallied and Mikael Tellqvist

stopped 23 shots for Phoenix, which has not beaten Edmonton

since February 27, 2007.



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