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Doan's pair lifts Coyotes to OT win over Avs

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER – Thanks to a fortunate break Monday night, the Phoenix Coyotes remained hot, climbed above the .500 mark and pulled into eighth place in the Western Conference.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored his second goal of the game with 58.9 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Coyotes a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against the slumping Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

Doan wired a shot over the shoulder of goalie Semyon Varlamov off a pass from Kyle Chipchura after Avalanche defenseman Greg Zanon cleared the puck from behind the net into the left corner. The puck hit a referee's skate and bounced right to Chipchura.

"Certainly you understand that that's a bounce, and we've had a couple bounces go against us this year," Doan said. "You try to make as much as you can when you get them. We were very fortunate to find a way to get the two points. I didn't see how (Chipchura) ended up with it. I just kind of turned to follow the puck and he had it. I didn't know until we got (to the locker room) when someone said it went off the ref's skate."

The Coyotes had to kill off back-to-back penalties that began late in regulation and needed several key saves by goalie Mike Smith to put themselves in position to win. Phoenix has gone 5-1-2 in the past eight games and is 6-5-2 overall.

"That's a testament to our PK guys," Doan said. "Guys were blocking shots and Smitty was unbelievable."

The Avalanche, who failed to capitalize on four power plays and has gone a National Hockey League-worst 3-for-37 with the man advantage this season, had a 4-on-3 power play for the first 1:21 of the overtime.

"We're close. We had some good chances," said Avalanche center Matt Duchene, whose breakaway goal in the second period gave his team a 2-1 lead. "The puck was bouncing bad on us in the last minute (of regulation) and then in overtime. We just have to find a way to get one there. I tried a one-timer and it jumped over my stick. It's disappointing. It's frustrating right now, losing a game like that. We probably deserved to win."

The Avalanche gained a point, but finished 1-2-1 on a four-game homestand and have gone 2-5-1 in the past eight games.

Smith, who finished with 41 saves, has posted a 7-1-1 record against the Avalanche in his career. He entered the game with a 1.55 goals-against average against Colorado.

"I'm just trying to play steady hockey, trying to do my part to give the team a chance to win," Smith said. "I don't know what it is about certain teams. I'm just trying to make saves at the right time."

The Coyotes tied the game 2-2 on a goal by Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 11:39 of the third period. He beat Varlamov from a sharp angle in the right circle after the Avalanche turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

"I should have just kept the (blue) line and gotten it deep, but we made two mistakes and it's a tough way to end it," Duchene said. "I made a terrible play on the second goal. I was at the end of my shift and I tried to do a little bit extra and it hit a stick. That's a mistake that I can't make. If I don't make that mistake, we probably win."

The Avalanche took a 2-1 lead in the second period on goals by Mark Olver and Duchene that came 3:04 apart. Olver converted Milan Hejduk's pass out of the corner at 2:24. The assist gave Hejduk 799 career points. Only Joe Sakic, Peter Stastny and Michel Goulet have collected 800 or more points in Quebec/Colorado franchise history.

Duchene connected on a breakaway at 5:28 for his first goal in eight games, since he scored twice Jan. 24 against Columbus. Doan lost the puck after crossing the Colorado blue line and PA Parenteau knocked it to Duchene, who sped into the Coyotes end and slipped the puck beneath the sprawling Smith.

Doan opened the scoring at 9:10 of the first period after Chipchura intercepted Avalanche defenseman Ryan O'Byrne's clearing attempt.

"I thought we got outplayed for the first two periods, but we regrouped and went hard at them in the third," Chipchura said. "Getting points in a shortened season, especially the way it started for us, every point's huge."

Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffered an undisclosed injury after getting hit early in the third period and didn't return. The Avalanche are already banged up on the blue line with Matt Hunwick (torso) and Ryan Wilson (ankle) sidelined with injuries.

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