<
>

Svatos scores twice in Avs' win

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Marek Svatos' knack for winning goals
caught Wayne Gretzky's attention.

Svatos scored twice, including the deciding tally 1:56 into the
third period, to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-1 victory over
the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night.

"Anybody who drives to the net, is strong like that, can skate
and can snap the puck, you're going to be successful," Gretzky
said. "He's got that desire to get to the net. I think he's going
to be a tremendous player in this game."

While the 23-year-old Svatos was low key about his team-high
nine goals and four game-winners, the praise from Gretzky brought a
smile to his face.

"That's pretty nice to hear from a guy who scored a couple of
goals in his career," Svatos said.

Rob Blake added a power-play goal for his 600th NHL point and
Pierre Turgeon notched three assists for the Avalanche, who snapped
a two-game losing streak.

"We had two tough losses and it was better to win, obviously,"
Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we played the
game that was out there."

Mike Johnson scored a power-play goal for the Coyotes, who have
lost two of three.

Svatos one-timed a long deflection past goalie Curtis Joseph
from the low slot to break a 1-1 tie, seconds after an Avalanche
power play expired, for his team-high ninth goal.

Svatos had tied the game at 14:14 of the second period when
Turgeon hit the crossbar with a long shot. The rebound bounced off
Joseph's back and landed in the crease a foot from the net. Svatos
skated in from the right and shoved the puck in before the defense
could react.

"It's a case of being at the right moment at the right spot,"
Svatos said.

Blake made it 3-1 with 7:54 left, beating Joseph from the high
slot with two seconds left on a Colorado two-man advantage.

Johnson gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead late in the first period,
converting on a give-and-go with Ladislav Nagy. Johnson fed the
puck to Nagy behind the net, then took the return pass at the
bottom of the left circle and beat Peter Budaj from the tight angle
at 17:49.

The Coyotes' power play had scored just once in 17 chances over
four games before Johnson's goal.

"It's a hit or miss thing," Johnson said. "When we get hold
of the puck, we need to do a better job of getting the puck into
the zone and getting set up. It's really hot and cold and needs to
get better."

Game notes
Blake is the fifth active NHL defenseman and 29th overall
to reach the 600-point mark. ... Johnson was playing in his 500th
career game. ... Turgeon, who missed Colorado's 5-2 loss to
Edmonton on Monday, moved past Peter Stastny into 27th place on the
career assists list with 791. Turgeon is 27th on the NHL points
list with 1,291.