By Nicolino DiBenedetto
Phoenix (32-37-7) at Colorado (31-43-2), 9 p.m. EDT
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche franchise hasn’t endured
an eight-game losing streak in more than 17 years. The Avs will
be trying to avoid their first since moving to Denver when they
host the last-place Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night.
Colorado (31-43-2) lost its seventh straight Sunday, 4-1 at
Anaheim as its disastrous season continued. The Avalanche
finished second in the Northwest Division with 95 points last
season, but they have the fewest points in the Western
Conference by far in 2008-09.
The slide is the team’s longest since an eight-game skid from
Jan. 2-23, 1992, when the franchise was the Quebec Nordiques and
finished at the bottom of the Wales Conference.
Colorado is assured of its lowest point total since relocating
for the 1995-96 season. The Avs, winners of two Stanley Cups
since the move, trail 14th-place Phoenix (32-37-7) by seven
points with six games to play.
With 193 goals, the Avalanche are among the NHL’s lowest-scoring
teams, something that’s been evident during their slide.
Colorado has 10 goals in the seven losses and hasn’t scored more
than two in any of those games.
Milan Hejduk, the team’s co-leader with Ryan Smyth at 26 goals,
has one goal and one assist over the last 10 games after
producing five goals and seven assists in the previous 10.
Hejduk also hasn’t been very productive against the Coyotes,
scoring one goal in the last seven matchups. That came in the
team’s one meeting at the Pepsi Center this season, a 5-4 Avs
overtime victory Dec. 23.
Colorado dropped the following matchup 3-1 at Phoenix on Dec.
31, falling to 1-2-0 in the season series.
The Coyotes, who haven’t won consecutive games since Feb. 19-21,
have alternated wins and losses in their last seven contests.
They’re coming off Monday’s 6-5 overtime victory against Dallas.
Phoenix is likely to dress Enver Lisin for a second consecutive
game after he had two goals and assisted on the winning score
versus the Stars. That performance came after the 22-year-old
right wing was a healthy scratch for nine consecutive games.
“It was very nice getting back in the lineup,” Lisin said. “It
(being scratched) is part of the job. It’s not the first time.
You just have to a professional, practice hard and wait for your
Lisin, the Coyotes’ second-round pick in the 2004 draft, has 12
goals and eight assists in 45 games. He’s collected three
assists in three career meetings with Colorado.
Shane Doan, Phoenix’s leader with 29 goals and 67 points, has
three goals and nine assists in his last seven games versus the
Avs. The All-Star right wing had a goal and assisted on Petr
Prucha’s winner Monday, giving him six goals and seven assists
in the last 11 games.