Mike Smith made 39 saves for his 100th NHL victory, and Daymond Langkow, Kyle Chipchura and Raffi Torres scored to help the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Thursday night.
Phoenix moved into seventh place in the Western Conference and matched Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles with 86 points. The Coyotes have played one more game than the Kings. Colorado is ninth in the standings, even in points with eighth-place Dallas at 85.
Langkow and Chipchura scored in the first period and Torres made it 3-0 late in the second. Ryan O’Reilly spoiled Smith’s shutout bid 4:28 into the third, and Paul Stastny added his 20th of the season with 5:39 left.
Smith is 33-18-9 this season, and 100-84-28 in six seasons with Dallas, Tampa Bay and Phoenix.
The Coyotes played without captain Shane Doan, suspended for three games for elbowing Dallas’ Jamie Benn on Tuesday night. Doan also will forfeit $166,000 in salary.
”I accept the NHL’s decision and ruling,” Doan said in a statement issued by the team. ”I am thankful that Jamie Benn was not hurt on the play. I recognize how bad it looked but there was no intent to injure him. Jamie Benn is a class act and I appreciate how he handled everything. I apologize to the NHL, my teammates and our fans for missing the next 3 games as we continue to fight for a playoff spot.”
From a goal mouth scramble early in the opening period, the Coyotes struck first.
Out of a maze of players, Langkow managed to get his stick on the puck outside of the crease. Goalie Semyon Varlamov fell backward and his momentum pushed the puck over the line 3:24 into the game.
With just over 4 minutes left in the period, Chipchura slide the puck under Varlamov’s right pad for his third of the season, and his first since Feb. 11 against the Blackhawks.
The Avs’ best chance came in the second period came at the end of a power play when Smith stopped O’Reilly from close range. Torres then made it 3-0 when he drove one-timer into the net from the left faceoff circle. Torres has two goals in the last three games.
In the race for playoff position, the Avs have six games left, three at home. The Coyotes have seven left, four at home.
NOTES: Avs D Erik Johnson missed his second straight game because of a back injury. … Gilbert Brule had two assists for his first multipoint game for Phoenix since being acquired Jan. 10. .. The loss snapped Varlamov’s winning streak at five.