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Coyotes maul Avs, 6-1

by Jerry Brown
GLENDALE, Ariz. – If the Phoenix Coyotes are going to make their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they are going to have to find a way to make home ice a nasty place for opponents.

 The last two games are a perfect blueprint to do just that.

Shane Doan recorded the 40th two-goal game in his career and Boyd Gordon added his first as the Coyotes scored twice in each period and had six players record multiple-point games as they buried the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 in a Monday matinee at Arena.

Gilbert Brule added a his first goal as a Coyote and an assist in his third game with Phoenix and rookie Chris Summers, Ray Whitney and Keith Yandle each added a pair of assists in the win. Chuck Kobasew had the only goal for Colorado (24-21-2), who allowed at least six goals in a game for the fourth time this year and has now lost four of their last five.

"The great thing about today was getting contributions right through our lineup," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We talk about our identity, and that's where we have to be all the time. We had a lot of people chipping in."

Doan had his first career hat trick in a 5-1 win over the Islanders on Jan. 7 and now has five of the 11 goals Phoenix has rung up in their last two home games. For a team that won just eight times in their first 18 in Glendale (7-8-3), that's a good sign.

The Coyotes (21-18-7) have played just seven home games in the last seven weeks, playing back-to-back at home only once since Thanksgiving. After a prolonged travel schedule that ends Wednesday in Anaheim, the Coyotes will play nine of the next 11 and 21 of their last 35 at home.  

"It's nice to have some success here offensively and we're going to have to continue that," Doan said. "This is the last week of this and after that you'll look back and say, ‘Wow, that was a pretty tough stretch.' But we have four big games this week and the only thing we can concentrate on is winning."

Monday was a good start. Phoenix inched to within two points of eighth-place Minnesota and one of the ninth-place Avs with the win. Colorado is now 1-3-1 in the last five after an 8-1-0 run that pushed them into the playoff race.

The Coyotes were not assessed a minor penalty in the game, something that stood out for Colorado coach Joe Sacco.

"I'm not sure how many penalties we deserved, but when you go through a whole game when the other team plays a perfect game, it's something to be said for how they play."

Phoenix's offensive outburst overshadowed a great performance by goalie Mike Smith, who made 38 saves – including huge stops early when the game was tied 1-1. Up 2-1, Smith robbed Paul Stastny twice in a matter of seconds -- once by smacking a pad against the post and then with a quick glove when Stastny tried to take his own rebound upstairs. He then foiled Peter Mueller at the left post on a two-on-none rush in the second.

"We had our chances, but the game got away from us and we were just chasing the game," Colorado forward Milan Hejduk said.

Doan, who needed 1,161 NHL games to record his first NHL hat trick, once again took over the game and made a bid for a repeat performance. After scoring on a mini-breakaway in the first, Whitney set up rookie Chris Summers for a shot that Doan deflected down and past Varlamov with 9:06 left in the second to give the Coyotes a 3-1 lead. Five minutes later, Doan came within an inch of back-to-back home hat tricks when he beat Varlamov but pinged the puck off the right post.

"I thought I had it, I knew it was close," Doan said. "They guys were working for me again, but I know for a fact hat tricks are hard to come by."

The Coyotes closed out the period at 16:37 when Whitney patiently held the puck and found a trailing Gordon a step ahead of his defender. Gordon put the puck over Varlamov as he was falling to the ice for his fourth goal and first since Nov. 12 – a stretch of 23 games -- to put his team in command at 4-1.

Gordon made it 5-1 with his 100th NHL point at 5:31 of the third, poking home a rebound of his own wraparound try for the first two-goal game of his 402-game NHL career. He had three more shots in the final minutes as his teammates tried to set him up for a hat trick.

"I think Doaner is more used to (being set up on every shift) than I am. The guys were great getting me some shots," Gordon said. "For me, I don't score too many goals so getting two for me is pretty special."

Ten minutes later, Rostislav Klesla set up in the low slot and one-timed a Brule pass to put an exclamation point on the rout.
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