Coyotes 3, Avalanche 2, OT

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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 net.”

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 Kariyaback for the first time since Oct. 21. He was out with a wrist injury.

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