Game 39: Coyotes 4, Avalanche 3 (SO)

photo courtesy of Roy Dabner/AP

"We'll take the point," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We're coming off two disappointing losses at home [to Detroit, Los Angeles] and down 3-1 in this one, getting the one point isn't too bad."

And just like that, the Avalanche have now shifted into settling mode, in which they settle for a point here, settle for a point there, settle for a point every three games or so.  

After an excellent 5-0-1 run over the past two weeks, the Avalanche are now 0-2-1 in their last three games, including last night's 3-1 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.  

The Avs still can't figure out Ilya Bryzgalov, who always made their lives hard when he played for Anaheim, and now continues his magic with the Desert Dogs of Phoenix.  Bryz stopped 42 of 45 shots in a superb overall performance, and continues to cement his reputation as an Avalanche Killer.

Avs goalie Peter Budaj didn't play quite as well, allowing three goals on just 26 shots, and two goals on two attempts in the shootout.  His poor second period, in which the Coyotes scored three goals (including two just ten seconds apart early on), set the Avs in catchup mode.

Wojtek Wolski, who scored his second goal in ten games, gave Colorado the early lead in the first period, while Budaj was his usual superb self by stopping all six shots he faced in the starting frame.  

In the third period, Avs rookie power forward Cody McLeod scored his second goal in as many games, salvaging a point for the Avs who only had five minutes left to tie the game.  

What killed Colorado was a lack of discipline on the ice, allowing six power plays and two power play goals by the Coyotes.  Phoenix allowed only three power plays and killed all three successfully.  It's a good thing the Avs have been very disciplined in most games prior to this one, because their penalty kill doesn't seem to work as well as it used to.

And the power play continues to blow (technical term).

The Avalanche faces Phoenix again on Wednesday, this time back in Denver.  It could likely be another Bryzgalov goalie clinic, considering how strong he's played overall since moving to the Coyotes from Anaheim.  Or the Avs could get their crap together and start winning games again.

They better.  Calgary is now tied in points and the Avs are in danger of falling into fourth place in the Northwest Division.  Luckily they're still only three points behind first-place Vancouver.

Stars of the Game:

  1. Peter Mueller (1g, 0a)
  1. Ilya Bryzgalov (42sv, .933)
  1. Radim Vrbata (2g, 0a)

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