Saturday, March 01, 2014
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Avalanche bounce back against Coyotes

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[March 01, 2014]  DENVER -- The young Colorado Avalanche are proving they can bounce back from disappointment like a veteran team.

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 period.

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.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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