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Colorado Avalanche vs. Phoenix Coyotes @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Colorado Avalanche (36-17-12-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (20-29-16-5).

TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. EST.

After enduring an emotional couple of days, the Colorado Avalanche appear poised to make a run at first place in the Western Conference.

Colorado looks to complete a perfect three-game road trip when its faces the Phoenix Coyotes for the first time in four months.

In their first game since teammate Steve Moore was involved in one of the league's ugliest on-ice incidents, the Avalanche recorded a 3-2 overtime victory at Edmonton on Wednesday.

Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi slugged Moore in the side of the head late in Monday's 9-2 Avalanche victory. He hit Moore from behind and drove his head into the ice. Moore landed face-first - with the 245-pound Bertuzzi on top of him - and lay in a pool of blood for several minutes before he was removed on a stretcher.

Moore is out for the season with a broken neck. He also sustained a concussion and deep cuts on his face, and remained hospitalized in Vancouver. Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs by the NHL as a result of his actions.

Colorado defenseman Adam Foote scored a power-play goal 2:37 into overtime Wednesday. He admitted the Avs had Moore on their minds.

"I said it before, naturally, you want to win the game for him, but again, it's just a game," Foote said. "You're going to want to get energy off that. We've got a job to do, we want to play hockey. You've got to be professional about it, but yet when the game's over, we're concerned, definitely, about how he is."

Avalanche players were encouraged after visiting and talking with Moore in the hospital before Wednesday's game. Winger Paul Kariya said his teammate was alert and mobile.

Wednesday's win marked the Avalanche debuts of forwards Matthew Barnaby and Chris Gratton and defenseman Ossi Vaananen - all acquired at Tuesday's trade deadline. With three new players in the lineup, star forward Teemu Selanne, who has no points in 12 games, was a healthy scratch.

The victory moved Colorado four points ahead of Vancouver in the Northwest Division and closer to Western Conference-leading Detroit.

Avalanche captain Joe Sakic has pulled within one point of the NHL scoring lead with 80 points. He has eight goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games.

The Coyotes continued to limp to the end of a disappointing season, dropping to 0-6-2-2 in their last 10 with a 3-1 loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Mike Comrie scored for Phoenix, 0-5-1-2 since interim coach Rick Bowness replaced Bobby Francis on Feb. 24.

"We have not been outplayed," Bowness said. "You can't crack them over the head because we're losing. Give the effort and we'll go from there."

Making matters worse for the Coyotes was a shoulder injury sustained by center Michael Rupp on Wednesday. Rupp, playing his second game since being acquired from New Jersey, is out indefinitely.

STANDINGS (through March 10): Avalanche - 89 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Coyotes - 61 points, 5th place, 22 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Milan Hejduk, 35 goals; Alex Tanguay, 54 assists; Sakic, 80 points; Peter Worrell, 153 PIM. Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy, 24 goals; Shane Doan, 40 assists and 63 points; Andrei Nazarov, 118 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 10): Avalanche - Power play: 21.5 percent (67 for 312), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (263 for 312), 15th. Coyotes - Power play: 15.1 percent (47 for 311), 22nd. Penalty killing: 82.2 percent (287 for 349), 22nd.

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - David Aebischer (29-15-9, 4 SO, 2.06 GAA); Tommy Salo (17-18-6, 3, 2.58). Coyotes - Brian Boucher (9-16-8, 5, 2.74); Brent Johnson (4-4-2, 1, 2.33).

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 1-0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 13; Coyotes 3-2, OT. At Phoenix, Branko Radivojevic, now with Philadelphia, scored 1:51 into overtime to cap a three-goal rally for the Coyotes.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 19-4-7-4 on the road; Coyotes - 10-16-6-3 at home.

Associated Press
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