PHOENIX (AP)-- Nothing worked for the Phoenix Coyotes until the
third period. Then everything seemed to click.
Branko Radivojevic scored 1:51 into overtime, capping a frantic
rally that lifted the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado
Avalanche on Thursday night.
"We played really bad in the first and we were a little better
in the second," Radivojevic said. "In the third, we said, `We
have to start winning now,' and I think this is going to be the
game that turns this team around."
Brian Savage and Ladislav Nagy also scored for Phoenix, which
trailed 2-0 going into the third period. Nagy also had one assist.
Sean Burke made 27 saves for the Coyotes, who have won twice and
lost once in overtime since going 0-6-3 in a nine-game stretch.
"I think somehow we found some energy," Burke said. "We
didn't have a great first two periods, but we hung in there."
Joe Sakic had a goal and assisted on one by Rob Blake, but
rookie goaltender Phillippe Sauve couldn't hold the lead in the
third. After Sauve stopped the Coyotes' first 15 shots, Savage
solved him at 9:38, and Nagy tied it with 7:56 left in regulation.
Sauve (1-3-1), who beat Phoenix 2-1 on Nov. 6 for his only win,
finished with 22 saves.
"A little mistake there, a little lack of communication, and it
was that type of game," he said.
Phoenix coach Bob Francis blamed having three days off after a
back-to-back with Anaheim for his team's being outshot 23-10 in the
first two periods.
"Sean obviously bought us some time for us," Francis said.
"We were a bit rusty."
Burke was under pressure from the start, stopping good chances
by Milan Hejduk and Teemu Selanne among his 11 saves before Sakic
scored with 1:20 left in the first period.
Sakic, centering Colorado's first line because of Peter
Forsberg's groin strain, cut across into the circle for a pass from
Alex Tanguay and fired back through traffic. That might have
obscured Burke's view of the puck.
The Avalanche made it 2-0 at 5:52 of the second period, just
three seconds into a power play.
Sakic won the faceoff with Daymond Langkow and sent the puck to
Blake, whose slap shot went in between Burke's arm and body.
Savage took a pass from behind the net and fired a rising shot
that handcuffed Sauve and made it 2-1.
"We didn't give them much," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said.
"We made that mistake behind our own net, and it ended up in the
Nagy kept the rally going with his wrist shot from the circle to
Sauve's left, and the Coyotes held the momentum with a late power
play when Colorado's Derek Morris hooked Nagy to prevent a
two-on-one rush with Radivojevic carrying the puck.
The Coyotes failed to score on the power play that began with
5:35 to go, but they had the only three shots in overtime.
Tanguay's assist added to his NHL leadership in assists
(18) and points (24). ... Forsberg, the defending NHL scoring
champion and MVP, missed his second straight game and fifth this
month. The Avalanche got LW Paul Kariya back for the first time
since Oct. 21. He was out with a wrist injury.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: US Airways Center Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Referees: Mike Leggo, Ian Walsh Linesmen: Dan McCourt, Mark Shewchyk
Attendance: 14,897 (91.9% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Joe Sakic (5)
Assists: Alex Tanguay, John-Michael Liles
Rob Blake (3)
(Power Play) Assists: Joe Sakic, Tim Wedderburn
Brian Savage (2)
Assist: Daymond Langkow
Ladislav Nagy (9)
Assists: Jan Hrdina, Branko Radivojevic
Branko Radivojevic (2)
Assists: Cale Hulse, Ladislav Nagy