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Smith stops 24 shots, Coyotes top Avalanche 4-0

Sunday, 04.07.2013 / 12:05 AM / News

The Canadian Press

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Smith stops 24 shots, Coyotes top Avalanche 4-0

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Mike Smith stopped 24 shots in his return to the Phoenix lineup and earned his fifth shutout of the season as the Coyotes beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 on Saturday night.

Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan each had a goal and an assist, Mikkel Boedker and Boyd Gordon also scored, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two assists for the Coyotes, who won their third straight.

Phoenix jumped ahead of Columbus and Edmonton into ninth place in the Western Conference, two points behind St. Louis and three behind seventh-place Detroit.

Smith hadn't played since sustaining an upper body injury on March 21 when he was run over by Vancouver defenceman Alexander Edler.

Against the hapless Avalanche, who are 4-13-1 in their past 18 games, Smith rarely was tested. He posted his 24th NHL shutout and improved to 7-1-1 against Colorado.

Smith made a pair of sprawling saves against Cody McLeod in the second period and got some help when Gabriel Landeskog hit the post with 15:23 to go.

The Avalanche have lost eight straight on the road, dating to Feb. 14.

The Coyotes needed only 96 seconds to take the lead against Semyon Varlamov. Boedker took a pass from Hanzal, carried the puck into the Avalanche zone and flipped a wrister from the top of the right circle that sailed over Varlamov's blocker for a 1-0 lead.

Hanzal made it 2-0 against the Avalanche's NHL-worst, road power-play unit. He took a pass from Shane Doan on a 2-on-0 breakaway and scored into the vacated left side of the net.

Colorado entered the game having allowed 22 power-play goals in 69 chances over 19 road games, a 68.1 success rate. The Coyotes went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

Varlamov allowed another tough goal at 7:04 when Gordon bounced a shot from just behind the back line off the goalie's back and into the net for his third goal in six games.

Doan added a goal at 14:37 of the second period when Varlamov overcommitted to a pass from Ekman-Larsson to Radim Vrbata to the top right edge of the crease. Vrbata shipped the puck to an uncovered Doan on the inside edge of the left circle for a shot into the open left side of the net.

Varlamov, who faced only three shots in the third period, finished with 24 saves.

NOTES: Varlamov was playing for the first time in three games. In his prior start, April 1 at Detroit, he allowed three goals on 13 shots. . Gordon didn't score in Phoenix's first 32 games. . Colorado has scored two or fewer goals in six straight games. . The Coyotes are 4-1 when Boedker scores. . Avalanche RW Chuck Kobasew missed his fourth straight game because of a back injury. . Phoenix has scored three second-period goals in consecutive games. . With Smith back in the lineup, Jason LaBarbera was scratched. LaBarbera started five straight games in Smith's absence until he was sidelined by a stomach virus on Thursday.

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I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

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