Coyotes get assist leader Hanzal back tonight

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The Arizona Coyotes will get a key piece back in the lineup tonight when Martin Hanzal returns from a two-game absence to take on the Avalanche.

Hanzal, who leads the team with 10 assists — putting him top-15 in the league, alongside the likes of Patrick Kane and Jamie Benn — looks as though he’ll reunite with wingers Tobias Rieder and rookie standout Anthony Duclair.

“We had some good chemistry early on with Marty and Rieds,” Duclair said, per the Arizona Republic. “I think we just have to continue on that pace before he got injured, and we’re just happy to have him back.”

Hanzal’s absence from the Arizona lineup was quite noticeable.

In his last game, a 4-3 win over the Leafs, he notched an assist on Max Domi‘s opening tally before scoring one of his own — only to have it waived off for a high stick. That all happened in just 5:36 of ice time, as Hanzal quickly exited with his lower-body ailment.

In the two games since then, the Coyotes got blown out in Boston, 6-0, then returned home and lost to the Canucks, 4-3.

It’ll be interesting to see how profound an effect Hanzal’s return has on Duclair, who’s pointless in his last five games. The two connected early and often in the early parts of the season:

Duke