NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 26th
(All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (15-24-7) at Phoenix Coyotes (20-18-8), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Looking to build towards next season, the Phoenix Coyotes
try to extend an 11-game series home point streak over the Colorado Avalanche
as the two clubs meet on Friday night.
The Coyotes have won three straight at home over the Avs, including a 4-0
victory on April 6. Mike Smith made 24 saves, while Martin Hanzal and Shane
Doan had a goal and an assist each.
Smith is 8-1-1 with a 1.41 goals against average and .956 save percentage in
10 career meetings with the Avalanche, including seven starts.
Phoenix is 9-0-2 in its last 11 home games versus Colorado, which hasn't won
in regulation on the road in this series since March 29, 2007.
The Coyotes have won four straight and 10 of the previous 12 encounters
After reaching the Western Conference finals last year, Phoenix will miss the
postseason for the first time in four years and had lost four of five prior to
Wednesday's 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Smith made 33 saves, while Keith Yandle and Michael Stone had the goals. Doan
ended with two assists.
"It's a good sign that we came out, played hard and played to win even though
it doesn't mean a lot in the standings really," said Phoenix head coach Dave
Tippett. "We've established an identity of how our team has to play to be
successful and we expect that identity to carry right through."
Colorado, set to miss the playoffs for a third straight season, have the
second-fewest points in the NHL with 37. If the Avs hold in that position,
they will have an 18.8 percent chance in Monday's lottery at landing the top
pick in the upcoming draft.
Colorado is 3-6-3 this month and after winning a 5-3 home decision versus the
St. Louis Blues on Sunday, dropped a 3-1 decision on Tuesday to complete a
Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves and Cody McLeod accounted for Colorado's lone
score as the club lost for the 16th time in its past 17 on the road. The Avs
are just 3-16-4 as the visiting club this season.
"They made a hard push and they were a hungry team tonight," said Colorado
head coach Joe Sacco. "They won the battles and skated harder than us, that's
why they won."
Colorado will end its regular season at home on Saturday versus the Minnesota
Wild, while Phoenix visits the Anaheim Ducks.
The Avs won't play winger Milan Hejduk tonight, though he is expected to play
on Saturday. Defenseman Erik Johnson, meanwhile, could return tonight after
missing the last five games due to a wrist ailment.
04/26 10:50:51 ET