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COYOTES FALL TO AVALANCHE, 4-3

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Norm Hall

COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Daniel Carcillo - (C) Niko Kapanen - (RW) Bill Thomas
(D) Zbynek Michalek - (D) Nick Boynton

AVALANCHE STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Brett McLean - (C) Paul Stastny - (RW) Milan Hejduk
(D) Kurt Sauer - (D) Brett Clark

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Colorado - Peter Budaj

On Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes fell to the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3, in the final meeting of the season between the two Western Conference rivals.

During the first shift of the night, the Coyotes nearly caught Colorado netminder Peter Budaj leaning too far to his right when forward Bill Thomas sent a centering pass to Daniel Carcillo. Carcillo, who was racing down the slot, tried to tip the puck on net, but ended up sending the puck wide of the right goal post.

With just under three minutes gone in the first, Phoenix defenseman Nick Boynton received an awkward hit in the corner, sending him to the ice. Despite obvious trouble getting back to his feet, the officials allowed play to continue and Boynton slowly made his way to the Coyotes bench where he was promptly escorted to the locker room.

As Boynton headed to the dressing room (eventually to return), Coyotes captain Shane Doan was being assessed the first penalty of the game, for interference at 2:59 of the period. While the Avalanche wound up with the extra attacker, it was the Coyotes who would produce the first quality scoring chance as Owen Nolan and Mathias Tjarnqvist broke into the Colorado zone on a two-on-one rush. Nolan waited until he forced the defense in deep and then blasted a slap shot at the net that beat Budaj and deflected off the goal post and away from the net.

At 6:55 of first, the Av's grabbed the first lead on just their third shot of the game as a drive by Arnason was kicked to the side of the net by the right leg of goaltender Curtis Joseph and on to the stick of Milan Hejduk. Armed with the puck and an out of position Joseph, Hejduk quickly lifted the puck into the net for a 1-0 Colorado lead.

With 7:15 left in the period, the Avalanche extended their lead to 2-0 when Hejduk made a great pass from the right hand boards that connected with a streaking Brett McLean at the top of the crease; allowing McLean to tip the puck past Joseph and into the net. Rookie forward Paul Stastny recorded his second assist of the night on the McLean's 15th tally of the season.

The final minutes of the first would wind down with the Coyotes trailing the Avalanche by the score of 2-0.

Early in the second period, the Coyotes found themselves in penalty trouble as Niko Kapanen and Owen Nolan took hooking penalties within 1:43 of each other. Phoenix killed off the first penalty to Kapanen, but while trying to kill off the second, the Avalanche offensive would strike again. This time it was sophomore Wojtek Wolski, at the left side of the net, who was able to get his own rebound and tap the puck into the crease where it deflected off a body and into the Phoenix net.

Less than two minutes later, at 7:05 of the second, the Avalanche made it a 4-0 game when center Brad Richardson made a tip on a pass from Andrew Brunette, to send the puck past Joseph and into the net. Colorado captain Joe Sakic also recorded an assist on the goal, moving him into sole possession of ninth place on the NHL's all-time scoring list with 1,580 career points. Following the goal by Richardson, the Coyotes made a goaltending change, sending Mikael Tellqvist in for Curtis Joseph.

With 1:32 to play in the second, the Coyotes power play took to the ice after a holding call on Colorado's Wolski. Unfortunately, the man-advantage would last just over a minute as Phoenix's Daniel Carcillo was sent to the box for roughing at 19:47 of the period.

The final seconds of the stanza would expire without incident as the Coyotes prepared to start the third period with 1:47 still remaining on the penalty to Carcillo.

At 4:15of the third, the Coyotes were able to make their first mark on the scoreboard when Steven Reinprecht grabbed the rebound from a Bill Thomas slap shot and flipped the puck past an outstretched Budaj at the right side of the net to make it a 4-1 game.

Less than two minutes later, at 6:08 of the period, Phoenix forward Kevyn Adams made it a 4-2 game with his first goal since joining the Coyotes. On the play, Adams was able to jam the puck past Budaj at the right side of the goal, with Mathias Tjarnqvist and Mike Zigomanis recording assists on the play.

Phoenix kept the pressure on as they tried to cut the Colorado lead to one and with 1:21 left in the contest; they did just that as defenseman Nick Boynton's shot deflected off the Avs' Ken Klee and into the net to make it a 4-3 game. Carcillo and Reinprecht assisted on Boynton's first goal of the season.

During the final minute of action, the Coyotes pulled Tellqvist from the net in favor of an extra attacker and nearly tied the game when a backhand by Carcillo from the left side, rang off the post and behind the net. Unfortunately, the Coyotes wouldn't be able to even the score as the Avalanche held on to their 4-3 lead and left Phoenix with two points.

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