A new line has the Phoenix Coyotes’ offense clicking.
The Colorado Avalanche hope they can continue to find the back of the net at home.
The Coyotes will try to win a season-high third straight and extend their point streak in this matchup to seven Wednesday night, when the host Avalanche look to build on their first win in Denver in 2011-12.
Since coach Dave Tippett moved Ray Whitney(notes) off the top line with captain Shane Doan(notes) and Daymond Langkow(notes) and alongside Radim Vrbata(notes) and center Martin Hanzal(notes), that new trio has contributed five goals and seven assists in two games.
Whitney scored twice and set up Hanzal’s goal in Thursday’s 5-3 win over New Jersey, and Vrbata scored twice off assists from Hanzal and set up Langkow’s overtime goal Saturday in a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles.
“We got (Whitney) back on our line, and we can see that chemistry from last year, even (in the) last game,” Vrbata told the Coyotes’ official website after snapping a seven-game stretch without a goal. “Tonight we scored a couple. I think the chemistry is there. Hopefully we’ll continue like that.”
They combined for three goals and five assists last season when the Coyotes went 3-0-1 against Colorado to improve to 5-0-1 in the last six meetings. Phoenix outscored the Avs 13-5 in 2010-11, including 7-2 in two games in Denver.
The Coyotes, who have killed 34 of 37 penalties since opening night, stopped all 12 power-play chances Colorado had last season.
Repeating that effort could be a challenge, as the Avalanche (7-4-0) are 10 for 24 with the man advantage in their last eight games.
The Avalanche, the league leaders with six road wins, had scored twice while dropping their first three in Denver.
“Even though we’re 1-3 at home we’ve been in every game and probably should have won two or three,” said center Matt Duchene(notes), whose winner in the third period was his first goal in seven games. “We want to be a good home team.”
Varlamov has never faced Phoenix (5-3-2).
If backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere(notes) gets his fourth start of the season, it will be the first time he goes against the Coyotes since 2009 while with Anaheim. He is 0-1-3 with a 2.63 goals-against average in his last four starts versus Phoenix.
He is 1-0-1 with a 0.96 GAA in two starts against the Avalanche, with the last coming three years ago while with Tampa Bay.
Ryan O’Reilly(notes), who leads the Avs with seven assists, scored on their only third-period shot and added the only goal in the tiebreaker the last time these teams met, a 4-3 victory April 1 that snapped a five-game skid to Phoenix.
Doan led the Coyotes with four assists and five points against the Avalanche in 2010-11.