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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, January 2nd (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (18-18-1) at Colorado Avalanche (21-15-3), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche will play the back end of a home-and-home series tonight, as the clubs are slated to tangle at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The Coyotes took the first game in Phoenix on Monday, 4-3, in a shootout. Radim Vrbata scored twice in regulation, netted the shootout clincher, and added an assist to propel Phoenix.

Colorado's Wojtek Wolski was the first shooter, but lost the puck as he prepared a backhander. Peter Mueller scored for the Coyotes on a simple snap shot, and Marek Svatos hit the left goalpost on the next Avs chance.

Vrbata then sealed the Coyotes win with a stick-side backhand shot past Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj.

Steven Reinprecht also tallied for Phoenix, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 42-of-45 shots in the win, as the Coyotes wrapped a four-game homestand 1-2-1.

Phoenix now hits the road for a game before returning home for two straight. The Coyotes have won their last four as the visiting team and are 12-8-0 overall on the road this season.

However, they have to battle an Avalanche club tonight that owns the second- best home record in the NHL at 15-5-0. Phoenix may be getting them at the right time, though, as Colorado has lost two straight as the host for the first time this season.

Wolski, Brett Clark, and Cody McLeod all lit the lamp once on Monday for Colorado, which dropped its third straight game overall. Ian Laperriere had two assists, and Budaj turned away 23 shots in the loss.

Paul Stastny recorded his team-leading 29th assist in the setback.

Despite the loss a few days ago, Colorado has still won nine of its last 11 matchups with Phoenix, and has collected at least a point in 17 straight games versus the Coyotes (12-0-3 with two ties). The last time the Avalanche lost in regulation against the Coyotes was March 30, 2002.

The Avs are 9-0-1 (with a tie) in their last 11 home games against the Coyotes.

01/02 10:42:22 ET


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