DENVER – So what if it was a fortuitous bounce that set up the winning goal for the Phoenix Coyotes—a simple clear by an Avalanche defenceman caroming off a referee’s skate to set up Shane Doan’s overtime theatrics.
Mike Smith still had to stop 41 shots and the Coyotes withstood two late penalties. As the Coyotes see it, they earned a little bit of luck.
Doan certainly wasn’t about to apologize after scoring his second goal of the game at 4:01 of overtime to help the Coyotes rally for a 3-2 win over the slumping Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.
Hey, breaks tend to even out over a long season—even an abbreviated one.
“We’ve had a couple of bounces go against us this year,” said Doan, who scored his 11th career overtime goal. “You try to make as much as you can out of them when you get them.”
The Coyotes certainly did at that.
With time winding down in the extra period, Greg Zanon tried to flip the puck out of the zone from behind his net. Only, it smacked off a referee’s skate as he stood in the corner and bounced to Kyle Chipchura. He quickly passed it over to a wide-open Doan, who shot it over the shoulder of Semyon Varlamov.
The Coyotes quickly rushed the ice to congratulate Doan.
“Got a lucky bounce and our captain buried a goal,” Smith said. “It was a big win.”
And a heartbreaking loss.
“At the end of the day, it’s a terrible bounce,” said Matt Duchene, whose squad had four days of rest but still dropped its third straight. “As soon as you see it happen, you kind of know it’s going to go in. That doesn’t happen very often. It’s a tough bounce.”
Colorado had its chances to end this game long before that carom, though.
Just before the end of regulation, David Moss was called for holding, giving the Avs a 4-on-3 advantage to start the extra period. Smith came up big and made one sprawling save after another.
Moss’ penalty came just after the Coyotes held the Avs in check when Michael Stone was called for cross-checking with 2:26 remaining in regulation.
“Disappointing,” said Duchene, whose team was 0 for 4 on the power play.
Colorado had a chance to gain some breathing room midway through the final period when Jamie McGinn skated in on Smith, only to have his shot turned aside by the goaltender.
The Coyotes quickly flew up ice, getting the puck to Oliver Ekman-Larsson near the blue line and letting him go to work. He weaved into the zone and sent a liner through a defenceman and right by Varlamov to tie the game at 2 at the 11:39 mark.
The goal-starved Avalanche finally got their offence cranked up in the second period as Mark Olver scored his first goal of the season. Three minutes later, Duchene slipped the puck past Smith on a breakaway to give the Avs a 2-1 lead.
It was a fight-filled game with Cody McLeod squaring off against Chipchura and Patrick Bordeleau later dropping the gloves and going after Paul Bissonnette. All were give five-minute majors for fighting.
Doan scored his first goal in eight games midway through the opening period when he circled the net and sent a backhand shot at Varlamov that trickled through the goaltender’s pads.
Early on, Colorado struggled to get anything past Smith, who was coming off a 1-0 shootout win at San Jose on Saturday in which he stopped 33 shots.
Smith has been difficult for the Avs to solve of late. He’s now 7-1-1 in his career against Colorado.
“Smitty was unbelievable,” Doan said. “We all thank Smitty because he was so good tonight.”
That’s how it’s been going for the injury-plagued Avs, who have already been shut out three times this season. They were missing a chunk of their offence against Phoenix because captain Gabriel Landeskog missed a seventh straight game with a head injury and forward John Mitchell was sidelined with the flu. Steve Downie is out for the season with a torn ACL.
“Got to go out there and just play the hand you’re dealt,” Avs coach Joe Sacco said. “We can’t worry about who’s here and who’s not in the lineup.”
The team recently went out and claimed Aaron Palushaj off waivers from Montreal, just to add a little more sizzle to their offence. Palushaj played in his first game in an Avs sweater on Monday.
Notes: Coyotes D Rostislav Klesla played in his 600th game. … The Coyotes are 15-1-2 in February over last two seasons, including 4-1-1 this season. … The Avalanche closed out a four-game home stand with a 1-2-1 mark. … Avs F Milan Hejduk picked up his 799th career point when he assisted on Olver’s goal.