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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 26th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (22-24-2) at Colorado Avalanche (24-20-3), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche open up the season's second half tonight at the Pepsi Center against a Phoenix Coyotes team it has dominated in recent years.

Colorado has won seven straight in this series and is 10-1-2 (two ties) over its last 13 matchups with the Coyotes. Phoenix is also winless in its last 10 visits to Denver, suffering nine losses and a tie during that stretch.

The Coyotes' last victory at the Pepsi Center came on October 30, 2000. They haven't beaten the Avalanche since a 3-2 overtime decision in the desert on November 13, 2003.

Colorado won its final two tests prior to the All-Star break, both of which were held in Denver. The first of those victories came at the expense of Phoenix, which came out on the short end of a 4-3 decision to the Avs on January 17.

In its most recent time out, Colorado earned an impressive 3-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings last Saturday. Andrew Brunette netted the game-winning goal midway through the third period, while Joe Sakic had an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the win.

Ian Laperriere recorded his first marker in 36 games for the Avalanche, which also received 27 saves in goal from Peter Budaj.

Colorado currently resides fourth in the Northwest Division and is three points behind Minnesota for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Sakic (2 goals, 5 assists) and Paul Stastny (3 goals, 3 assists) each bring five-game point streaks into tonight's tilt. Sakic is also coming off a noteworthy performance in Wednesday's All-Star Game, where the Western Conference captain had four assists to aid in his team's 12-9 victory.

The Coyotes will be playing the finale of a four-game road trip tonight. Phoenix lost the first two games of the swing before coming through with a 3-2 win Saturday in Los Angeles.

Travis Roche had the game-winning tally with 1:39 remaining in the third period, with Josh Gratton and Ladislav Nagy notching the other goals for the Coyotes. Mikael Tellqvist finished with 28 saves between the pipes.

Phoenix is 10-14-1 on the road for the season.

01/26 15:19:24 ET


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