Coyotes 4, Avalanche 0

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mike Smith turned away 24 shots to record his fifth shutout of the season and the Phoenix Coyotes defeated Colorado Avalanche 4-0 on Saturday night before an announced crowd of 16,648 at Jobing.com Arena.

With the win, the Coyotes moved to within one point of the eighth-place St. Louis and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

In his first game since suffering a blow to the head against Vancouver on March 21, Smith was hardly tested. The defense in front was nearly air-tight, and the Phoenix defense limited Colorado to just 10 in the first 30 minutes of the game.

In the process, Smith recorded his 24th career shutout.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes offense scored early in each of the first two periods. In recent games, the Coyotes surrendered goals early and had to play come-from-behind hockey.

First, Mikkel Boedker fired in a wrist shot less than 2 minutes into the contest and the Coyotes built from that early lead.

Martin Hanzal picked up a power-play goal 3:06 into the second period and that gave the Coyotes a two goal margin. Here, Shane Doan and Hanzal broke on the goalie Semyon Varlamov and Hanzal converted Doan's pass into his 11th goal of the season.

Defensive specialist Boyd Gordon added to the margin when he converted a rebound by from the back board into his third of the season at 7:04 of the middle session. Doan then converted a pass from Radim Vrbata in front for his 13rd goal of the season at 14:37 and the Coyotes were on their way to a three-game winning streak.

That marked the first time this season Phoenix had a winning streak of more than two games. Previously, they won two in a row on four different occasions. In one, they captured two straight but these games a pair of 5-4 overtime wins against Anaheim in March 3 and March 4.

NOTES: Doan had his first two points since scoring twice against the Kings on March 19. It was Doan's fourth, multi-point game this season. ... Boedker scored his first goal since March 12 when he netted a pair against the Kings. Boedker is also seven points from 100 for his NHL career. ... Vrbata had his fourth multi-point game of the season. ... After losing to Detroit in overtime Friday night, the Avs played back-to-back games for the seventh time. ... Avs' Milan Hejduk, out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, became the first player in Colorado history to play 1,000 games. ... Entering the game, the Coyotes were second in the NHL in goals (62) at home.
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