NHL

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 - 9:30 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Coyotes beat Avs to win third in a row

Phoenix Coyotes
Phoenix goalie Mike Smith denies Avalanche center Paul Stastny from point blank range.
Share This Story

   
 

DENVER (AP)

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith paraded around the dressing room with a flashy replica of a championship belt slung over his right shoulder.

It was an easy giveaway for anyone wondering who the player of the game was for Phoenix.

Not that there was much room for debate.

Smith was cool under pressure as he stopped 39 shots to lift the Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.

''Smitty kept us in the game tonight,'' said Radim Vrbata, who scored two goals against his former team.

That is exactly what Smith did, turning in one sensational save after another with the Avalanche spending quite a bit of time in the Coyotes' end. The 40 shots Smith faced were the most since the opener against San Jose when he saw 52 and gave up six goals.

''Strong goaltending,'' Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ''We didn't play as well as we would like, but our goaltender hung in there and battled hard for us and we found enough to win.''

Taylor Pyatt and Lauri Korpikoski also scored to help the Coyotes win their third straight game.

Ryan O'Reilly had the lone goal for the Avalanche, who drew a small crowd due in part to a storm that blanketed some areas of the Mile High City with nearly a foot of thick, wet snow.

POWER RANKINGS

Best on the ice or just playing nice? Which team tops our power rankings?

The Coyotes had seven players with assists, including two by Ray Whitney. Vrbata sealed the win when he scored an empty-net goal with 1:33 remaining.

That this performance came against his former team only made it sweeter.

''It's always nice to score here,'' said Vrbata, who had his second straight two-goal game. ''But it's a game like any other — try to help your team get a win and get some points.''

Phoenix didn't take long to increase its lead as Korpikoski scored 24 seconds into the final period to make it 3-1. After a long shot bounced off the pads of Semyon Varlamov, Korpikoski zoomed in and as he was being pushed to the ice by Kyle Quincey, unleashed a shot into the right corner of the net.

That was more than enough for Smith, especially given the way he was playing.

He frustrated and flummoxed the Avalanche all evening.

''It's hard to win hockey games when you're not scoring goals,'' Avs forward Milan Hejduk said. ''We just have to keep playing the same way and eventually we'll start scoring goals.

Coyotes at a glance

 
Phoenix Coyotes
Looking for the latest on the Coyotes? Get the inside slant, stats, scores, schedules and more scoops right here.
 

''When you put 40-plus shots at net every night, at some point you need to score more goals than one.''

The second period was mostly dominated by the goalies — until the final minutes, at least. Vrbata gave Phoenix a 2-0 lead after Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda failed to clear the puck near the net. Vrbata swooped in, grabbed the puck and shot it over Varlamov.

Just 26 seconds later, Colorado pushed a shot past Smith when O'Reilly gobbled up a loose puck and tapped it in.

That after a period that featured quite a few big saves, including one by Smith on which he was completely in the net, only to somehow keep the puck from crossing the line.

Pyatt staked Phoenix to an early lead when he poked a shot past Varlamov midway through the opening period. It was Pyatt's second goal of the season.

The Avalanche had several solid scoring chances later in the period, but Smith stonewalled a point-blank shot by Paul Stastny and later cast aside a drive from Matt Duchene.

O'Reilly was looking forward to skating against his older brother, Cal, who was acquired by Phoenix late last month. But Cal was scratched due to a groin injury.

Avalanche at a glance

 
Colorado Avalanche
Looking for the latest on the Avalanche? Get the inside slant, stats, scores, schedules and more scoops right here.
 

The brothers had a chance to catch up the night before, going out to dinner with their father.

The O'Reilly siblings have faced each other once in their NHL careers, on Feb. 4, 2010, when Cal was with Nashville.

O'Reilly's linemate, rookie Gabriel Landeskog, showed no lingering effects from an elbow to the head from Edmonton defenseman Andy Sutton last Friday. Sutton's hit drew a five-game suspension from the NHL.

An appropriate punishment?

''It's not my job to say if it's right or wrong,'' Landeskog said at the morning skate.

The violent collision did teach Landeskog a valuable lesson: to stay alert at all times, especially in the corners.

''I should've known he was coming,'' Landeskog said. ''I should've been more aware of my surroundings.''

He was against Phoenix, even getting into a brief skirmish with Keith Yandle.

NOTES: Colorado forward Peter Mueller missed his eighth game this year with a head injury. Mueller sat out all last season because of a concussion. ... The Avalanche are in the midst of playing 14 of 18 games at Pepsi Center. ... Phoenix is 4-0-1 in its last five games.

Tagged: Avalanche, Lightning, Capitals, Coyotes, Taylor Pyatt, Radim Vrbata, Mike Smith, Lauri Korpikoski, Semyon Varlamov, Ryan O'Reilly

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt