NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 29th
(All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (18-15-4) at Colorado Avalanche (19-18-1), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche saw a pair of winning streaks come
to an end on Tuesday. Now its the Phoenix Coyotes' turn to try and extend
their run of success in this series as they visit the Avs tonight.
One night after snapping a nine-game road losing streak with a win at
Minnesota, Colorado returned home to face the Jets riding an eight-game win
streak at home that was the longest for the club since it moved to Denver in
1995. The Avs had also matched their best win streak of the season with five
straight victories, but was dealt a 4-1 loss by Winnipeg to end both runs.
Kevin Porter picked up a late goal and Jean-Sebastien Giguere was tagged in
defeat for all four goals on 26 shots.
"I felt tonight that we gave them all four goals. They were all from
breakdowns that we can correct," Giguere said. "We're aware of what we're
doing and since we haven't practiced for a while, we have to make the
The loss was the first at the Pepsi Center for Colorado since Nov. 28, but
Porter doesn't think the defeat was any sort of wake-up call for the club.
"I don't think so. We have been playing well here at home, but we have to
continue that. We definitely have to play better and get back on track," he
Colorado will start with trying to end Phoenix's seven-game point streak in
this series. The Coyotes are 6-0-1 since their last regulation loss to the
Avalanche on Feb. 12, 2010, and after suffering a shootout loss in the final
of four meetings last year, opened up the 2011-12 edition of this series with
a 4-1 victory at Colorado on Nov. 2.
Radim Vrbata scored twice and Mike Smith made 39 saves as Phoenix won for the
third straight time in Denver.
Smith, though, is one of four regulars currently sidelined with injury for the
Coyotes, joining Adrian Aucoin, Martin Hanzal and Boyd Gordon. Without some of
those keys players, Phoenix saw its losing streak stretch to a season high-
tying three straight games with last night's 2-1 overtime setback to Boston.
The Bruins got the game-winner when defenseman Dennis Seidenberg snapped a
shot on net that deflected off Coyotes defender Derek Morris and past Jason
LaBarbera 58 seconds into the extra stanza.
"There were a lot of good things we did tonight. Unfortunately we got a bad
break there at the end," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "We had a lot
of people pour a lot into that game. Too bad we couldn't get two points out of
Ray Whitney scored for the Coyotes and LaBarbera made 27 saves as the Coyotes
fell to 3-6-1 in their past 10 but still sit just two points out of first
place in the Pacific.
Phoenix will play four in a row and seven of its next eight on the road, where
it is 11-7-1 this year compared to 7-8-3 at home.
12/29 10:47:02 ET