Coyotes-Avalanche Preview

While the Phoenix Coyotes are in danger of concluding their trip

with three consecutive defeats, they have played well in Colorado

of late.

The Avalanche are looking to regroup following a disappointing

trek of their own.

The slumping Coyotes will again be without captain Shane Doan as

they go for a fifth win in six visits to Pepsi Center on Tuesday

night.

Phoenix (16-8-5) opened its trip with a 6-2 win over Edmonton

last Tuesday before losing 4-1 in Calgary the following night. The

Coyotes also came up short Friday in a 3-2 overtime defeat to

Vancouver.

Antoine Vermette and David Moss scored in the third period to

forge a tie, but Mike Smith allowed the game-winning goal 3:41 into

OT. Smith finished with 29 saves as the Coyotes dropped to 2-4-2 in

their last eight.

“We’re trying to defend better, and we’re giving up less shots

and less chances against,” coach Dave Tippett told the team’s

official website. “But going into the trip, this game is about

winning and getting points. We got only got three of six and for

where we are, we need a better percentage than that.”

Phoenix could be looking forward to stopping in Colorado, where

it’s won four of five while surrendering eight goals. The Coyotes

are 10-1-3 in the overall series dating to March 2010, but the

Avalanche have taken the last two matchups, including a 4-3

overtime win at Phoenix on Nov. 21.

Doan, who recorded an assist that night, has 10 goals and 18

assists during a 23-game stretch versus Colorado. The veteran

forward, though, will miss a second consecutive game due to

illness.

“He’s a big piece of our puzzle, but if he’s out other guys have

to take more (responsibility) and have to step up,” said Tippett,

whose club will also be without defenseman Derek Morris and forward

Lauri Korpikoski. “He’s a big player that plays with skill. He

plays hard and in front of the net on the power play and provides

leadership in the dressing room. But there are players that we have

that can take some of that slack.”

The Avalanche (20-8-0) also struggled against the Canucks,

falling 3-1 on Sunday to finish a 1-2-0 trip. Jamie McGinn’s goal

with 7.1 seconds left in regulation helped Colorado avoid its first

shutout of the season.

“We pulled the goalie with five minutes left in the game, and it

was important for us as coaches to show our players that, ‘We are

not quitting,’ and they did the same thing – they kept going,”

coach Patrick Roy said. “All year we’ve been like this. We never

quit. We battled through, and I honestly thought we played a better

game than (Vancouver). Unfortunately, we have nothing to show for

the result.”

The previously unbeaten Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped just 18

shots in dropping to 7-1-0 with a 1.83 goals-against average.

“These are just stats for you (media) guys to talk about,”

Giguere said. “It was nice, but I try to go in there and compete

every day, and unfortunately losing is part of the game too. I’m

just going to regroup and get ready for the next chance I get to

play.”

Giguere is 0-1-5 with a 2.95 GAA in his last eight games against

the Coyotes. Semyon Varlamov was 0-3-1 with a 3.95 GAA over a

four-game stretch versus Phoenix before making a season-high 41

saves in last month’s win.

Smith has gone 8-1-3 against Colorado while compiling a 1.85

GAA, his lowest career mark against any team.