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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, January 26th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (24-17-9) at Colorado Avalanche (25-18-6), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to post a winning homestand this evening when they take on the struggling Phoenix Coyotes at the Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche snapped a two-game skid and improved to 2-2-0 on their residency with Monday's 4-3 victory over the Blues. Brandon Yip, a scratch in three of Colorado's last four games, scored a pair of goals, while Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Stoa also scored.

Shattenkirk's tally was scored during a power play that came when Yip drew a double-minor high-sticking penalty on St. Louis, while Stoa scored 44 seconds later in what turned out to be the game-winner after the Blues scored late.

"It was huge, I think, not only just scoring goals, just playing the right way," said Yip, who scored for the first time since Dec. 13 to halt a 13-game goal drought. "I think everyone did that tonight. We showed a great effort, it's a team win."

Peter Budaj finished with 21 saves for Colorado, which is tied for seventh in the Western Conference and is 13 points back of first-place Vancouver in the Northwest Division.

Colorado has lost three straight and five of seven versus Phoenix, which recorded a 2-0 victory in the first meeting between these clubs on Jan. 6. The Coyotes' Jason LaBarbera posted a 34-save shutout and Taylor Pyatt had both goals, while Colorado's Craig Anderson made 31 saves in a loss.

Budaj is expected to get the call again tonight again and is 7-3-3 with a 2.59 goals-against average lifetime versus Phoenix.

The Coyotes had lost two straight and three of four in Denver prior to that win, but come into this one having lost four of their last five overall. That has Phoenix sixth in the Western Conference standings, one point back of the Ducks and one ahead of both the Blackhawks and Avs.

Scottie Upshall scored twice in last night's 4-3 loss as Edmonton got the game-winner with just 21.3 seconds left. Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves in defeat, the Coyotes' first in regulation this year when leading after two periods (19-1-2).

"It's a disappointing loss, that's for sure. Very disappointing," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "There's some games when you feel like you're committed, you play hard, you do things that allow you to win. Tonight, we didn't do enough of that."

Defenseman Keith Yandle celebrated his addition to the All-Star roster on Tuesday by collecting a pair of assists. He has a goal and 11 helpers over an eight-game point streak and his 42 points on the season surpassed last year's career-best 41-point effort.

Phoenix, which has still won four straight on the road, got defenseman Ed Jovanovski back in the lineup for the first time in six games due to a lower- body injury, but fellow blueliner Michal Rozsival missed the game with a lower-body ailment of his own.

Bryzgalov is 5-4-2 with a 2.54 GAA versus Colorado, though Tippett could give LaBarbera his first start since Jan. 10. The winning goaltender in the last meeting, LaBarbera is 2-5-0 with a 3.22 GAA in his career against the Avs.

01/26 10:45:18 ET

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