NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 2nd (All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (5-3-2) at Colorado Avalanche (7-4-0), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It took a few games, but the Avalanche finally posted their first home victory of the season. Their next task at the Pepsi Center is slowing down the Coyotes' red-hot line of Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal.
Colorado aims for its first regulation victory over Phoenix in seven games after picking up a 3-2 home victory on Sunday, its first in four games as the host.
The Avalanche had been outscored 9-2 in dropping their first three games in Denver before Matt Duchene scored the decisive goal early in the third period versus the Kings last time out. Milan Hejduk and Chuck Kobasew also scored for an Avalanche club that is 6-1-0 on the road.
Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves to record the win, posting 14 stops in the second period alone. Defenseman Kyle Quincey assisted on two goals to run his point streak to four straight games. He has a goal and four helpers over the burst, which is one game shy of his career high set from Oct. 1-12, 2009.
"It feels good," Duchene said of getting the first home win. "They are a tough team, they always play us well and it was good to come out and have a good one. Despite not getting a lot of shots, we made them count when we had to and our goaltender played well and our back end played awesome. It was a good team victory."
Colorado was shut out twice by Phoenix a season ago as the Coyotes went 3-0-1 in the season series. The Coyotes are 5-0-1 in the last six meetings overall, taking two in a row at the Pepsi Center.
They'll look for another high-scoring performance out of the reunited line of Whitney, Vrbata and Hanzal. The trio skated together last season and were put back together Thursday in a win over the Devils. The line has five goals and 11 points in two games, with Vrbata scoring twice and notching an assist in Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over the Kings.
Hanzal had two assists and Daymond Langkow scored the game-winner with 44 seconds left in overtime.
"We got (Ray Whitney) back on our line, and we can see that chemistry from last year, even (in the) last game ... Tonight we scored a couple. I think the chemistry is there. Hopefully we'll continue like that," Vrbata said.
Mike Smith made 36 saves and the Coyotes killed off all four of the Kings' power-play chances. They have killed off 31 of their last 34 penalties spanning nine games and that allowed Langkow to sneak his shot by Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick.
"Obviously nothing fancy there. I saw the opening there on the short side and just threw it," Langkow said. "I think it went off his stick or something and up and over him."
Phoenix went 2-0-1 on a three-game homestand and returns home for three straight following tonight's contest.
11/02 10:53:50 ET