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This Time, Andre Benoit Not Denied First Goal

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Defenseman Andre Benoit was nearly robbed of his first goal of the season, again.

As Phoenix was trying to clear the puck out of its zone in the second period of Thursday game, Benoit was able to keep it in at the blue line and fired a wrist shot toward the net. The puck went off the post and the back of goalie Mike Smith before it finally settled into the cage at 15:50 of the stanza.

However, the tally was close to being awarded to Gabriel Landeskog, again.

Andre Benoit

In Tuesday's contest against Chicago, Benoit's shot from the point just nicked the blade of Landeskog's stick and was redirected past Corey Crawford for a goal in the first period.

This time the shot just went under the arm of Landeskog as the Colorado captain was trying to screen the 6-foot-4 Smith from seeing the puck.

Fortunately for Benoit, the puck missed his teammate before it crossed the goal line—not that he would have cared much as long as the shot went in.

"Landeskog had a great screen in front of the net so it was tough for their goalie to see it," Benoit said. "When there is a screen like that you just have to hit the spot."

The score was the start of a three-point night for Benoit as he later assisted on the game-tying goal late in the third period and on the game winner in the final minute of overtime. His three points set a new career high, bettering his previous best of two points on Oct. 12 of this season at Washington and on Jan. 30 versus Montreal as a member of Ottawa.

The 29-year-old was also the first Colorado defenseman to have a three-point game since Ryan Wilson accomplished the feat on Nov. 4, 2011 at Dallas.

Benoit's first tally of the season helped give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead, but the St. Albert, Ontario native's biggest point of the evening might have been his assist on the game-tying score.

Colorado was pressing hard in the final minutes of the third period after Phoenix came back from the two-goal deficit and took a 3-2 lead with less than six minutes remaining.

The Avs were getting some good pressure in the Coyotes' zone in the final minutes, and Benoit tried to create a scoring opportunity by throwing the puck toward net from the point. The shot was blocked in front, stopping just short of the netminder, but teammate Cody McLeod was at the top of the crease, picked up the rebound and scored on a swooping backhand shot with 3:14 to go.

"That was a big play by Benoit to put it on net, and Cody was there and put it in the back of the net," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "That was a big play for us."

While Thursday's game in the desert was Benoit's best offensive outing of the season, he has actually been Colorado's most reliable offensive defenseman this year.

Benoit leads all Avs defensemen in scoring with 11 points (1g/10a), one more than he had in 33 games with the Senators last year.

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