The Coyotes came out strong and unloaded a heavy onslaught of shots on Craig Anderson before Dupuis and his fourth line delivered an energy charged shift in the visitor's zone about 2 1/2 minutes in. Dupuis created 2 great scoring chances taking the puck hard to the net. 4th line came to work. After that momentum grabbing sequence, the Avalanche stepped up the play and created a lot of pressure, but Phoenix back up LaBarbera withstood the barrage.
Despite the Avs' pressure, Phoenix struck first when Taylor Pyatt picked up a rebound in front and sent a backhand past a sliding Anderson at 9:35. 1-0 Phoenix. The Avalanche continued the attack and seemed to be shooting every chance they got. Everybody was in on the fun as even Adam Foote was smacking at the puck in the crease during a scramble.
With about 3 minutes to go, the Coyotes stepped on the gas and sent a dangerous shot ringing off the post. Yandle and Morris were beasts on the point keeping in the puck and sending smart, hard shots toward Anderson. David Jones flashed some speed and flew in alone on LaBarbera with a shot, but he never had solid control of the puck. End of the high-octane 1st. Shots 15-13 Phoenix.
The 2nd began with Adam Foote and Ryan O'Byrne doing some nice work to halt Phoenix advances into the zone, which in turn sprung Hejduk for a partial breakaway. The Coyote's defender was able to get back and force Hejduk to his forehand and LaBarbera made the stop. After that, it was a fast up and down pace with both teams exchanging long stretches of offensive pressure - complete with line changes while in the offensive zone. As hard as both offenses were charging, the defenses matched the intensity with blocks, checks, and sticks in lanes. Good hockey all around.
The Avs dominated play in the Phoenix zone towards the end of the 2nd, forcing Phoenix to call their timeout to rest players and refocus. It didn't really help though as Duchene drew a penalty on the next shift in the Yotes' zone, sending the Avs on their first powerplay. The home team generated more quality chances, but still couldn't find the back of the net. 2nd period ends still 1-0. Shots 22-22 after 2.....creepy.
Hunwick coughed up the puck behind his own net with minimal pressure early in the third. UGLY. After that unnecessary scare, both teams continued to fly and create chances. All 4 Avalanche lines were creating offense and flat out flying all night. Porter took a bad penalty hooking Jovanoski after Jovo Cop had picked KP's pocket and started to skate out of the Phoenix zone. Avs kill it off and both teams are 0-1 on the powerplay. Shortly after the good kill, the Avs attack with three intense flurries, but big LaBarbera played very well positionally and pucks just kept finding him.
The Avs pulled Andy with over a minute to go, got the offensive zone face off, called their time out, drew up a play, threw out their top guys, and.......Phoenix iced the puck. So the Avs set up the play again and....Phoenix score an empty netter. Pyatt snares his 2nd of the night.
This was an excellently played game by every line, every pairing, and both goaltenders. Andy was great and played a solid 60 minutes. Unfortunately, LaBarbera out dueled Anderson and earns the shut out and sends the Avs farther down the super tight Western Conference standings. Poop.
Scratches: Koci, Holos, McLeod (groin)
- 82 divided by 41 = we're half way through the season.
- LaBarbera was forced into the game when Bryzgalov bowed out for personal reasons.
- Phoenix has no superstars, just a lot of very good players. They're not flashy, but very effective. Plus, that Yandle dude is good.
1st - Jason Labarbera - 33 saves, shutout
2nd - Tyler Pyatt - 2 goals, GW
3rd -Craig Anderson - .969 save %
Tavares and his Islanders visit Pepsi Center Sat Jan 8, 2011 for an afternoon beating, 1pm MST.