Coyotes try to remain hot against lowly Avs

Published April 06, 2013

| Sports Network

The Phoenix Coyotes will try to boost their playoff chances when they shoot for their first three-game winning streak of the season in Saturday's contest against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

Phoenix has won two straight and recorded at least a point in each of its last five outings (3-0-2), but the club hasn't won three in a row since it ended the 2011-12 regular season with five consecutive victories.

The Coyotes, who have made the postseason in each of the past three years, are currently tied for 11th in the Western Conference, four points out of a playoff spot.

Phoenix recorded its second straight win in Thursday's home game against the Detroit Red Wings. Chad Johnson posted 34 saves and the Coyotes scored three times in the second period to take a 4-2 win over the Red Wings.

Martin Hanzal and Michael Stone each had a goal and an assist while Chris Conner and Shane Doan also scored for the Coyotes, who led 3-1 after two periods before holding on for the win over the final 20 minutes.

"We got some timely goals from guys and we held on from there," Johnson remarked.

Coyotes No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith could be back in the crease Saturday after sitting out the last six games with a head injury. Smith, who was injured on March 21 against Vancouver, is expected to be a game-time decision.

Phoenix is completing a three-game homestand on Saturday and is 12-7-1 as the host this season. The Coyotes will begin a three-game road trip when they visit Vancouver on Monday.

The Coyotes have dominated Colorado in recent years, winning three straight, four of five and nine of the last 11 games in this series. The Avalanche, who are 2-14-3 as the road team this season, have lost two in a row and seven of eight on the road against Phoenix.

Colorado, which is last in the NHL with 29 points, has lost three straight and seven of its last eight games. The Avalanche were able to gain a point in a loss on Friday, as it dropped a 3-2 decision against visiting Detroit. Pavel Datsyuk scored a pair of goals for the Red Wings, including the game-winner with 15.4 seconds left in overtime.

Mark Olver and PA Parenteau scored for the Avalanche, who are 2-10-1 over their last 13 games. Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 28-of-31 shots in the setback.

"It was frustrating," Giguere said. "I thought we played a good game. They were hungry and they got a good goal in the overtime."

Colorado will try to end its league-worst road skid on Saturday. The Avalanche are 0-10-3 during the 13-game slide and haven't won away from Denver since beating Minnesota on Feb. 14.

The Avalanche could get forward David Jones back from a knee injury on Saturday. Jones has missed the last seven games, but he practiced on Friday and joined the club for this trip to the desert. He has three goals and four assists in 27 games this season.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/04/06/coyotes-try-to-remain-hot-against-lowly-avs/