Montoya, Coyotes blank Avalanche

DENVER (AP) — Al Montoya sure didn’t look like a guy making his
NHL debut.

Montoya made 23 saves to earn a shutout, Mikkel Boedker and
Shane Doan scored a goal each, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the
reeling Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Wednesday night.

“I couldn’t let this feel like my first game,” Montoya said. “I
had to play it like I’ve been here before. That’s the attitude I
came with.”

Montoya, recalled from the AHL on March 23, led the Coyotes to
their third win in four games. He faced only five shots in the
first period and three in the third but came up with the big
saves when needed.

“I thought early in the game he made a couple of key saves. It
was a real solid effort for a guy playing his first NHL game,”
Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. “Good for him. Hopefully this
is something good to go from here.”

Boedker gave Phoenix the early lead with his 11th goal. He
picked up the loose puck out of a scrum in front, moved to his
left, and wristed a shot past goalie Andrew Raycroft 6:28 into
the game.

Doan scored his 30th goal of the season with 12:43 left, and
Zbynek Michalek added an empty-netter with 2.2 seconds

It wasn’t until Michalek’s goal that Montoya relaxed and enjoyed
the shutout.

“Not until the last 3 seconds when we scored,” he said. “It’s
unreal to get the win, but at the same time it’s icing on the

Raycroft had 32 saves for the Avalanche, who have lost eight

“It definitely has been a different experience than in the
past,” said Milan Hejduk, one of three players left from
Colorado’s 2001 Stanley Cup championship team. “It has been
difficult for me. I can’t picture this team having losing
streaks like other teams.”

Colorado, the last-place team in the Western Conference, hopes
to have captain Joe Sakic back before the end of the season.
Sakic, who has missed 62 games with back and hand injuries, said
Wednesday he is still trying to get the strength back in his leg
after surgery in January to repair a herniated disk.

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“I just want to be able to try to come back,” said the
39-year-old forward, who recently returned to the ice but has
yet to go through a contact practice. “Where the future stands,
I’m not too sure.”

Sakic was one of eight regular players out of the lineup against
Phoenix, and the news got worse for Colorado. Forward Ryan Smyth
injured a hand in the first period. Smyth, who leads the team
with 59 points, is one of two Avalanche players to play in all
77 games this season.

He doesn’t know yet if he can play Sunday in Vancouver.

“I got it jammed in the first period,” he said. “I don’t know
much more.”

For Colorado, it’s another in a long series of setbacks this

“The injuries keep coming,” Avalanche coach Tony Granato said.
“It seems like it’s a repeating part of what I tell you after
the games lately. I’ve never been around a team with so many

It has added up to a disappointing season for the Avalanche,
whose eight-game losing streak matches the franchise’s longest,
set in January 1992.

The Avalanche’s last home win came March 12 against Minnesota, a
span of four games. They will finish below .500 for the first
time since 1993-94, when they were the Quebec Nordiques — one
season before the team moved to Colorado. The Avalanche have
been outscored 36-10 during their losing streak, including 22-4
at home.

Notes: The last goalie to post a shutout in his NHL debut was
Dallas’ Mike Smith, who blanked the Coyotes 4-0 on Oct. 21,
2006. … Avalanche F Wojtek Wolski (undisclosed illness) missed
his third straight game. … The Avalanche were shut out for the
ninth time this season. … Doan reached the 30-goal mark for
the second time in his 13-year career.