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Coyotes-Avalanche Preview @NHL

With Joe Sakic still going strong, the Colorado Avalanche will try to pick up where they left off before the All-Star break when they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.

The Avalanche (24-20-3) can win a third straight game when they face the Coyotes (22-24-2), a team they've beaten seven consecutive times. Colorado has earned at least a point in the last 13 meetings, including a 4-3 home win on Jan. 17 in its only matchup with Phoenix this season.

Colorado, which has won six of nine, is in fourth place in the Northwest Division with 51 points, but just five points behind division leaders Calgary and Vancouver.

The Avalanche defeated Detroit 3-1 in their most recent game on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Sakic, who leads the team with 20 goals and 32 assists, has seven points in his last five games. He had four assists in the West's 12-9 win over the East in Wednesday's NHL All-Star game.

"It's obviously going to feel good," said Sakic, who has 16 career All-Star assists. "We're fortunate to play a number of these games and I have to be honest, since I broke in the league the scores have been pretty high."

In his 12th All-Star game, Sakic surpassed Mark Messier's record of 14 assists in 15 games and moved into third all-time with 22 All-Star points, trailing Wayne Gretzky (25) and Mario Lemieux (23).

Sakic, however, isn't the only Colorado player who's played well recently.

Andrew Brunette has scored a goal in each of the last two games and four in the last five. Rookie Paul Stastny scored two goals against Phoenix and is riding a five-game point streak.

The Avalanche continue to get solid play from second-year goaltender Peter Budaj, who is 6-2-1 in his last nine starts. Budaj, who has a 2.53 goals against average, made 19 saves for the West in the NHL YoungStars Game on Tuesday.

"You can see his confidence growing in every game," Brunette said. "He's giving us good goaltending every night. Confidence for a goalie speaks volumes and once he gets rolling he can take it for a while."

Phoenix has lost four of six since winning seven in a row, but is coming off a 3-2 victory at Los Angeles on Saturday.

Ladislav Nagy and Travis Roche scored in the third period to lift the Coyotes, who had given up at least four goals in five consecutive games.

"We haven't had any quit in us the last month or so," Roche said. "We've been battling to the very end, and we did again. To win it like that was great. We were able to sneak one out."

Forward Yanic Perreault and defenseman Ed Jovanovski each contributed to the West's All-Star win Wednesday. Perreault, the team's co-leader with 15 goals, scored twice and Jovanovski had two assists.

Perreault, who didn't sign with Phoenix until late October, made his first All-Star appearance in 14 NHL seasons.

"I think we had a lot of fun," Perreault said of the All-Star experience. "That's the main thing."

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