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Avs seek to start new winning streaks vs. Coyotes

by John Kreiser /

COYOTES (18-15-4) at AVLANCHE (19-18-1)

TV: FS-Arizona (HD); ALTITUDE (HD)

LAST 10: Phoenix 3-6-1; Colorado 6-4-0

Season Series: The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They haven't seen each other since the Coyotes came to the Pepsi Center on Nov. 2 and left with a 4-1 win. Phoenix is 5-0-1 in the last six games against the Avs.

Big Story: The banged-up Coyotes will have a quick turnaround after a hard-fought 2-1 overtime loss to Boston, while the Avs had a day to rest after Tuesday's 4-1 loss to Winnipeg ended their eight-game home winning streak and their five-game overall win streak.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: The packed house at Arena saw the Coyotes go toe-to-toe for 60-plus minutes with the powerful Bruins. But after regulation ended in a 1-1 tie, Dennis Seidenberg's shot 58 seconds into OT pinballed into the net to send the Coyotes home with a disappointing loss.

Still, coach Dave Tippett was pleased with his team's play, especially considering the Coyotes were missing two centers, a regular defenseman and their starting goaltender -- his challenge will be to get his team to match that kind of effort on back-to-back nights.

"We wanted to make sure we left an impression with the effort we had tonight and I thought we competed very hard. That's a good hockey team over there," he said. "We're missing a few guys … but we had a lot of people pour a lot into that game and it's too bad we couldn't get two points."

Avalanche: Maybe it was fatigue, but the Avs had nothing in the tank against the Jets on Tuesday, one night after winning 4-2 at Minnesota for their fifth consecutive victory. Kevin Porter's goal late in the third period avoided a shutout, but the Avalanche didn't have the kind of zip they'd shown while running off eight wins in a row at the Pepsi Center.

"It's still a nice feather in the cap for a young team," coach Joe Sacco said of the streak. "We still feel like we're playing well. We're a good hockey team and we'll regroup and get ready for our next opponent."

Who's Hot: Ray Whitney scored the Coyotes' lone goal on Wednesday and has three goals and five points in five games. … Ryan O'Reilly, Colorado's top scorer, has two goals in the Avs' last three games.

Injury Report: The Coyotes played Wednesday without goalie Mike Smith, center Andrew Gordon and defenseman Adrian Aucoin, all with lower-body injuries. Another center, Martin Hanzal, is out with an upper-body injury. … Colorado forward Brandon Yip is about ready to return from a groin injury. Forwards Peter Mueller (concussion), Chuck Kobasew (head) and David Jones (groin) and defenseman Ryan Wilson (head) are on injured reserve.

Stat Pack: Colorado and Phoenix have both allowed 27 first-period goals. … The Avs are just 9-for-68 (13.2 percent) on the power play at home; they are tops in the NHL on the road at 15-for-54 (27.8 percent).

Puck Drop: Smith's absence has given the starter's job in goal to longtime backup Jason LaBarbera, who had struggled in three games before turning in a solid effort on Wednesday -- stopping 27 of 29 shots. He was beaten by David Krejci on Boston's first shot and Seidenberg on the last one.

He was able to regroup after allowing Krejci's goal 47 seconds into the game.

"You don't want to give up a goal early like that when you're trying to feel good about yourself," he said. "It's just a matter of buckling down and just getting back to who you are and remembering what got you there."
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