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game recap

Varlamov's 37 saves help Avalanche top Coyotes

Duchene, Grigorenko each has goal, assist

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves, and Matt Duchene and Mikhail Grigorenko each had a goal and an assist to help the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 at Pepsi Center on Monday.

Varlamov was strong from start to finish for his first win since Feb. 17 against the Montreal Canadiens. He hadn't played since being pulled after allowing three first-period goals six days ago in a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

"I felt comfortable and confident," Varlamov said. "I knew it was really important to start this game strong and make a couple good saves because last game was a tough game for me against Minnesota. I've been waiting for this game and working really hard to prepare myself mentally and physically."

The Avalanche took a 2-0 lead into the third period on goals by Shawn Matthias and Duchene, but two of their three losses in the previous four games came after taking a lead into the third.

Video: ARI@COL: Varlamov denies Hanzal's shot with glove

"We were confident going into the third," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "I thought we did a good job. We defended against a team that puts a lot of pucks at the net."

Grigorenko gave the Avalanche some breathing room with a goal for a 3-0 lead at 5:37 of the period. He put a backhand past goalie Louis Domingue's stick during a goal-mouth scramble for his fifth goal of the season and first in 13 games.

"There were seven or eight guys in front of the net," Grigorenko said. "I was just looking for the puck and I tried to get some open ice and shoot it. I was really happy with the way we played in the third, and that goal was really big for us."

The Coyotes drew within 3-1 at 8:07 on Boyd Gordon's first goal in 49 games this season. Sergei Plotnikov was at the side of the net when he passed in front to Gordon, who scored while being checked by Jarome Iginla. Gordon played in his second game after missing the previous 13 because of an upper-body injury.

Video: ARI@COL: Comeau feeds Duchene for power-play goal

The Coyotes had a two-man advantage for the final 1:34 after Gabriel Landeskog was penalized for tripping Michael Stone with Domingue off for an extra skater, but the Avalanche killed it off, running their streak to 19 in a row covering six games.

The Avalanche (34-30-4) tied the Wild with 72 points, but Minnesota has played one fewer game and holds the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Colorado will need more solid games from Varlamov down the stretch if it is going to make the playoffs.

"He was really good. He looked like a No. 1 tonight," Roy said.

Video: ARI@COL: Grigorenko nets rebound to pad the lead

Varlamov made two saves against Martin Hanzal in the opening minute of the first period and a glove save against him at 11:15 on a Coyotes power play. He also made a pad save on a driving Antoine Vermette at 18:30.

"We made a few mistakes, especially on a 3- on-2 against Vermette where he made a phenomenal one with the pad," Roy said. "He was solid, and that's the Varly we wanted to see. It was a good thing for him to rest and be ready for this one."

The Coyotes (28-32-6) have lost nine consecutive road games and eight of their past nine overall. They played most of the third period without defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who sustained an upper-body injury at 3:19 and didn't return.

"It was a close game," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Couple of bad bounces here and there. The disappointing thing for me is their third goal. We should be on a four-minute power play with a high stick. It's missed, and it's in the back of our net. That's the frustrating thing. It's a blatant high stick, it's not even close."

Video: ARI@COL: Gordon puts Coyotes on the board in the 3rd

Duchene scored his NHL career-high 28th goal at 5:40 of the second period on a power play to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead. He took a return pass from Blake Comeau and put a shot by Domingue's right arm. The goal came with one second left on Plotnikov's penalty for hooking Tyson Barrie.

Varlamov stopped Tobias Rieder on a breakaway at 11:30 to maintain the two-goal lead.

"He was great," Duchene said. "We have so much confidence in him. A big deal's been made out of maybe what's happened lately. When he's in the net, and [Calvin Pickard] too, we know we're solid there. We know we don't have a question mark."

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead in a fast-paced first period on a goal by Matthias at 9:17. Carl Soderberg was in the left corner when he passed to Francois Beauchemin for a shot that Domingue stopped, but the puck popped over his left shoulder into the crease. Matthias slid along the ice to poke it into the net for his eighth goal.

Video: Varlamov's 37 saves, ample offense key Avalanche win

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