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COYOTES DROP 4-3 DECISION TO COLORADO

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Getty Images

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Colorado - Peter Budaj

On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes six-game road-winning streak came to an end as they dropped a 4-3 contest to the Colorado Avalanche.

The first scoring opportunity of the game would come just 20-seconds into the first period when Colorado's Joe Sakic tried to stuff the puck into the Coyotes net on the short side; but Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph made a great play to slide over to the left side of the net and make the save.

The Coyotes would receive the first power play of the game as Colorado forward Antti Laaksonen was called for holding the stick of Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek. Although the Coyotes had the extra attacker, they were only able to create one true scoring chance when Ladislav Nagy send a pass form the right boards to the front of the crease as Yanic Perreault crashed the net. However, Avalanche netminder Peter Budaj, was able to stop Perreault's initial shot and prevent a rebound to end the Coyotes scoring threat.

At 7:28 of the first, the Avalanche would put the first mark on the scoreboard when forward Paul Stastny deflected a pass from Tyler Arnason at the top of the crease, sending the puck past Joseph for the 1-0 lead.

Phoenix's penalty kill took to the ice for the first time at 15:31 into the opening period when Dave Scatchard was assessed a slashing penalty. Colorado would do a good job of getting the puck inside the Phoenix zone, they were even able to cycle the puck around the perimeter, but shots on goal were limited by the defensive effort of the Coyotes and Joseph, who kept the Av's from adding to their lead.

With just 23-seconds to play in the first, Colorado's Ossi Vaananaen was sent to the box for holding. Phoenix would be unable to even the score before the end of the period, but would begin the second with 1:37 of power play time.

The Coyotes began the second period with the man-advantage, but a disciplined Colorado penalty kill unit, limited Phoenix to just one shot on goal, until Vaananen could return to the ice.

Phoenix would continue to try and get pressure on the Avalanche net in search of a game-tying goal and at 4:14 of the second period, the Coyotes would finally be rewarded. On the play, Phoenix forward Oleg Saprykin dropped a pass behind the Colorado net to George Laraque, who curled around the net and slid a shot under the stick blade of Budaj for his fifth goal of the season.

At 6:40 of the second, the Coyotes would find themselves back on the power play when Vannanen made his second trip to the box, this time to serve a roughing penalty. Unfortunately, the Phoenix power play would continue to struggle against the Colorado penalty kill as they were unable to find the back of the net and take their first lead of the game.

Colorado went on the power play for only the second time in the game at 8:54 of the stanza when Phoenix center Steven Reinprecht was sent to the box for holding. The Coyotes would do a good job of killing off the first half of the penalty to Reinprecht, but soon there after, the Av's would make a costly trip back into the Phoenix zone. Andrew Brunette started the play when he sent a cross-ice pass form the top of the zone to Sakic on the right side; who then made a tip pass over to Milan Hejduk in the slot, who deflected the puck past Joseph for his 15th goal of the year and a 2-1 Colorado lead.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan tried to even the game at two with just over eight minutes to play when he blasted a slap shot from the top of the slot, that just caught a piece of Budaj's shoulder and deflected away from the net.

Yanic Perreault would have a pair of scoring opportunities within a minute of each other during the final minute of the period. The first chance came when Perreault cut to the crease and tried to slide the puck around Budaj, but was stopped at the last second by the paddle of the goal-stick.

Then a minute later, Perrault was sent on a mini-breakaway inside the Avalanche zone, where he snapped a shot from the slot that beat Budaj, but rang off the goal post and away from the net.

With just 40-seconds remaining in the period, Colorado extended their lead to 3-1 when Andrew Brunette took a feed from Arnason and flipped a wrist shot from the left side of the goal past a diving Joseph to give the Avalanche a two-goal lead after 40-minutes of play.

Early in the third period, the Coyotes would get another chance at the man-advantage as Colorado defenseman Brett Clark was escorted to the box for holding. Unlike their previous power play attempts, the Coyotes were able to establish an offensive attack trough a series of quality scoring chances. Ed Jovanovski led the way two blasts form the point that beat Budaj, but struck the goal post and stayed out of the net. In the end, the Avalanche would kill off their sixth consecutive penalty, maintaining their two-goal lead.

Phoenix forward Fredrik Sjostrom tried to use his speed to create a scoring chance when he grabbed a long lead pass in the neutral zone and made a break for the Colorado net near the three-minute mark. While Sjostrom was unable to get around the Avalanche defender, he still managed to get a shot on goal, but was unable to cut into the two-goal deficit.

Just over seven minutes into the third, Colorado's Stastny would record his second goal of the evening to put the Avalanche ahead by three. On the play, Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris sent a backhand pass in his own zone that failed to connect with Jovanovski, allowing Hejduk to send a pass down low to Arnason, who quickly moved the puck to the front of the crease. Stastny grabbed the puck at the top of the crease, was stopped on his first shot, but was able to get his own rebound and slide the puck around Joseph and into the net to make it a 4-1 game.

At 13:36 of the third, the Coyotes showed there resiliency when they cut the deficit to 4-2 on a slap shot from Mike Zigomanis at the point that made it's way through a trio of bodies in front of the net and past Budaj for his eighth goal of the season.

Just 1:16 after the goal by Zigomanis, the Coyotes offense struck again when Ladislav Nagy unleashed a shot form the right side that beat Budaj high and ricocheted off the left goal post; and back into the slot where Shane Doan was waiting and able to tap the puck back into the Colorado goal, cutting the Av's lead to 4-3 with just over five minutes to play.

With 40-seconds to play in regulation, the Coyotes began a rush out of their own zone and pulled Joseph form the nets in favor of the extra attacker. They would end up entering the Avalanche zone off-sides, resulting in a face-off in the neutral zone. Off the draw, Phoenix would move back into the Colorado zone, but would be unable to complete the comeback as the Avalanche held off the Coyotes late rush, topping Phoenix by the final score of 4-3.

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