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Hensick Notches A Pair Against Phoenix

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
T.J. Hensick

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Radim Vrbata scored the game-winner in overtime to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-3 victory over the Avalanche Monday night at Pepsi Center. Vrbata’s attempt slipped past Avalanche netminder Peter Budaj 3:23 into the extra session to give Phoenix the win.

T.J. Hensick recorded a pair of power-play goals for the Avs, while Ian Laperriere also scored and Tyler Arnason chipped in with a pair of assists.

“We thought the whistle had blown but the ref said the puck was already in the net,” Hensick said regarding Vrbata’s game-winner. “That’s what the discussion was about. I think we didn’t play for the last two seconds there, we thought the whistle blew. He poked it in. Bad bounce, bad change. They got the benefit of the doubt in overtime.”

The Avs opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 17:48 of the first frame when Arnason made a feed across the Phoenix crease to Hensick, who tapped it home for his fourth goal of the season.

A Peter Mueller power-play goal from the high slot 1:13 later tied the game, 1-1, heading into the first intermission.

Daniel Winnik made it a 2-1 contest at 5:04 of the second period when he converted on a Matt Murley feed near the goal mouth, but Laperriere evened the game before the end of the period on his fourth goal of the season. Brad Richardson started the play by intercepting a Phoenix pass near the Avs’ blue line and streaking up the left wing. Laperriere joined the rush and tipped Richardson’s pass over a diving Mikael Tellqvist at 14:49.

Hensick capitalized again on the power play to give the Avs a 3-2 lead at the 9:52 mark of the third period. However, Vrbata scored his first of two goals with 3:31 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Hensick Piling Up Points
Lately, rookie T.J. Hensick has been showing off the scoring touch that made him a Hobey Baker finalist during his senior campaign at the University of Michigan. A season ago, the forward led the nation in scoring with 69 points (23g/46a) in 41 games. He also led the country in assists, assists-per-game (1.12) and points-per-game (1.68) in his final season as a Wolverine.

Fresh off a two-goal performance on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues, the forward opened the scoring in tonight’s game with a power-play tally in the first period and added another goal in the third. Hensick has recorded five points (4g/1a) in his last four games, topping the total he produced in his first 19 NHL contests (1g/2a).

Taking the Show on the Road
Tonight’s game was one of only four home contests for the Avalanche in February, as they will play 10 of their 14 games this month on the road. The Avs will play their next two contests away from Pepsi Center – a Wednesday tilt in San Jose followed by a Saturday contest against Vancouver – before returning home for a Feb. 12 match-up against the Anaheim Ducks.

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