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Avalanche 3, Coyotes 1 @NHL

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Marek Svatos' knack for winning goals caught Wayne Gretzky's attention.

Svatos scored twice, including the deciding tally 1:56 into the third period, to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night.

"Anybody who drives to the net, is strong like that, can skate and can snap the puck, you're going to be successful," Gretzky said. "He's got that desire to get to the net. I think he's going to be a tremendous player in this game."

While the 23-year-old Svatos was low key about his team-high nine goals and four game-winners, the praise from Gretzky brought a smile to his face.

"That's pretty nice to hear from a guy who scored a couple of goals in his career," Svatos said.

Rob Blake added a power-play goal for his 600th NHL point and Pierre Turgeon notched three assists for the Avalanche, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

"We had two tough losses and it was better to win, obviously," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we played the game that was out there."

Mike Johnson scored a power-play goal for the Coyotes, who have lost two of three.

Svatos one-timed a long deflection past goalie Curtis Joseph from the low slot to break a 1-1 tie, seconds after an Avalanche power play expired, for his team-high ninth goal.

Svatos had tied the game at 14:14 of the second period when Turgeon hit the crossbar with a long shot. The rebound bounced off Joseph's back and landed in the crease a foot from the net. Svatos skated in from the right and shoved the puck in before the defense could react.

"It's a case of being at the right moment at the right spot," Svatos said.

Blake made it 3-1 with 7:54 left, beating Joseph from the high slot with two seconds left on a Colorado two-man advantage.

Johnson gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead late in the first period, converting on a give-and-go with Ladislav Nagy. Johnson fed the puck to Nagy behind the net, then took the return pass at the bottom of the left circle and beat Peter Budaj from the tight angle at 17:49.

The Coyotes' power play had scored just once in 17 chances over four games before Johnson's goal.

"It's a hit or miss thing," Johnson said. "When we get hold of the puck, we need to do a better job of getting the puck into the zone and getting set up. It's really hot and cold and needs to get better."

Notes: Blake is the fifth active NHL defenseman and 29th overall to reach the 600-point mark. ... Johnson was playing in his 500th career game. ... Turgeon, who missed Colorado's 5-2 loss to Edmonton on Monday, moved past Peter Stastny into 27th place on the career assists list with 791. Turgeon is 27th on the NHL points list with 1,291.

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