Sixty games into the season, the Avs have yet to go on an
extended losing streak and showed -- once again -- that a tough loss
is merely motivation.
Defenseman Nate Guenin's first goal in nearly two years broke a 1-1
tie early in the third period and the Avalanche beat the Phoenix
Coyotes 4-2 on Friday night.
Left winger Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two assists and center
Paul Stastny added a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who
rebounded from blowing a two-goal lead in a loss to the Los Angeles
Kings on Wednesday night.
"We felt like last game we had a great chance of winning that game,
so we were pretty hungry tonight," Landeskog said. "It's our young
enthusiasm and our mindset of keep it going. Coming to the morning
skate today, we couldn't do anything about Wednesday's game and we
couldn't take anything back."
Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov had a big night to get a little
redemption after a disappointing finish to the Olympics in his
native Russia. Varlamov had 18 of his 40 saves in the third period
to hold off the Coyotes.
Varlamov returned to Denver early this week but was held out of
Wednesday's game to recover from his 2-1 performance in Sochi.
"I think those days helped me. I was tired emotionally and it gave
me some rest," he said. "I got back into a normal routine, trained
with my goalie coach."
The win stopped Phoenix's seven-game point streak against Colorado,
dating to Jan. 16, 2012. The Coyotes were 11-3-3 against the
Avalanche since coach Dave Tippett took over.
Center Shane Doan scored twice and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson
had two assists for the Coyotes, who suffered a blow in their push
for the playoffs.
"The margin for error is very slim," Tippett said. "We pushed hard
to try and get ourselves back in it, which is a positive sign.
Players like Doan and (left winger Mikkel Boedker) are playing hard,
but we have to have everyone on the same page and our margin for
error is very slim and mistakes cost us tonight."
Every point is crucial in the final stretch as the Coyotes chase one
of the wild-card spots available. They sit 10th in the Western
Conference after Vancouver picked up a point in a shootout loss to
the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
"We lost. There isn't much to feel good about," Doan said. "It comes
down to the last 20 games. It always does. We have to figure out a
way to get more points."
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Colorado, meanwhile, strengthened its hold on the fifth seed in the
West and crept closer to fourth. The Avalanche trail the San Jose
Sharks by one point and the Chicago Blackhawks by two and have a
game in hand against both teams.
The Avs are three points behind Central Division leader St. Louis,
which lost to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
"We went after it today," Landeskog said. "It was a big two points
and we want to keep it going toward Chicago and St. Louis."
The game was tied heading into the third period when Guenin scored
on a slap shot 48 seconds into the period. It was his first goal
since March 19, 2012, when he was with Phoenix.
"It's about time," Guenin said. "Just good timing there. The puck
slipped through and I kind of saw an opening."
Stastny made it a 3-1 game at 6:12, but Doan's second power-play
goal of the game with 6:02 left cut the lead to 3-2. It was Doan's
17th goal of the season.
Landeskog answered with his 19th of the season almost three minutes
later to make it 4-2.
It was Colorado's fifth power-play goal in the last two games.
Phoenix got off to a good start when Doan backhanded Boedker's shot
off the post past Varlamov for a power-play goal.
The Avalanche took advantage of their first power-play chance when
right winger P.A. Parenteau one-timed a pass from center Matt
Duchene past goalie Thomas Greiss with 4:22 left in the first
Greiss finished with 29 saves.
NOTES: Colorado LW Maxime Talbot returned to the lineup after
missing Wednesday's game to be with his fiancee, Cynthia Phaneuf,
for the birth of their son, Jaxon, early Thursday morning. ...
Coyotes D Oliver Ekman-Larsson's assist on the first goal gave him a
career high in assists for a single season. ... Avalanche C Nathan
McKinnon's nine-game point streak entering Friday is the longest by
a rookie this season. ... Phoenix LW Paul Bissonnette was scratched
for the third straight game. ... Colorado D Erik Johnson was out of
the lineup while serving the second of his two-game suspension for
his slash on New York Islanders C Frans Nielsen on Feb. 8.
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