Kuemper gets 1st shutout of season, Coyotes beat Avs 3-0

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona goaltender Darcy Kuemper should receive extra credit for his first shutout of the season.

Seven of Kuemper’s 33 saves in a 3-0 victory over Colorado on Saturday came when the Coyotes were short-handed. Included was a stretch early in the second period when the Coyotes had a man in the penalty box for six minutes of a 9:56 stretch.

“That was a tough one for us,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. “That’s good power play and ‘Kuemps’ was there.

“He was solid. Even some of their shots, they might look easy, but they are hard saves because he has to move from one side to the other. He looked really big in the net tonight.”

Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist, Conor Garland scored his team-high seventh goal and Christian Dvorak also scored as Coyotes sent the reeling Avalanche to their fourth straight loss.

The shutout ended Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon’s 13-game scoring streak. He was the only player to have had a point in every game this season, and his streak was the longest to open a season since Henrik Zetterberg scored in 17 straight for Detroit in 2007-08.

“The ‘PK’ers went to work and dug in,” Kuemper said of the penalty kill units. “They did a great job.”

Kuemper, who was fifth in the Vezina Trophy voting last season, had his 17th career shutout. He had a career-high five shutouts last season.

The Coyotes have allowed only 28 goals this season, the second-fewest in the league, and have won seven of their nine games. Boston has allowed 26 goals.

“Kuemper was really good when we started testing him in the second period,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said.

The Coyotes have won seven of nine, and have rebounded from each of their most recent losses with solid outings, starting with a 5-3 victory in New Jersey in the third game of a four-game East Coast trip in which they went 3-1.

“We’re maturing as a group and doing a great job of staying even keel,” Kuemper said. “We don’t really get too high after a night like this. Last game when it didn’t go our way, we just came back to work at the next practice.”

Dvorak scored on a power play early in the first period, poking in the rebound of Kessel’s shot from the left point. Kessel made it 2-0 when his wrist shot from a seemingly impossible angle along the red line got past Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz.

Barrett Hayton set up that goal with a between-the-legs pass while pinned along the boards. Hayton, the fifth player taken in the 2018 draft, has a goal and two assists in the last four games.

“He’s a sticky player,” Tocchet said. “He’s a smart guy. He knows how to interfere without getting calls. He’s around the net. He made a great play to Kessel. He has a very a high hockey IQ.”

Garland redirected a cross-ice pass from Nick Schmaltz into a half-empty net with four minutes left in the second period for a 3-0 lead.

Colorado, which opened the season 8-0-2, has six goals in its four-game losing streak.

“I think it stems from not moving our feet when we are getting the puck,” forward Matt Nieto said. “Sometimes we grab the puck and (get) stuck in the mud. Options close down when you are not moving your feet.”

NOTES: The Coyotes killed off a tripping penalty called on goaltender Darcy Kuemper at 8:42 of the first period, served by Kessel. Kuemper had a career-high seven minor penalties last season. … Colorado F Nathan McKinnon, who had a career-high 12 shots in a 2-1 loss to Dallas on Friday, attempted four shots. … The Coyotes had 15 penalty minutes after entering the game with only 72, the second-fewest in the league. … Coyotes F Brad Richardson (upper body) missed his fourth straight game.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At Dallas on Tuesday, three days after a 2-1 home loss to the Stars.

Coyotes: At Edmonton on Monday in the first of two road games in two days.