“Some of the guys that made big impacts were the new guys—Barnaby, (Chris) Gratton, (Ossi) Vaananen,” Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. “Barnaby, you can see what he does, both the physical part and around the net. On faceoffs alone, Gratton has a presence there. Vaananen did a great job on defense and made some big hits. Tommy Salo was very solid in the net.
“The new guys have brought exactly what we thought they would. They’ve added a lot of enthusiam to our lineup. They’ve added depth and they’ve added a physical presence.”
It was Colorado’s fourth straight victory overall, but the Avs are only 2-5-3-1 in their last 11 at home.
Salo, making his first appearance for the Avalanche since being acquired from Edmonton on Tuesday, stopped Comrie on a penalty shot at 17:30 of the third period, denying him with the handle of his stick.
“I know Mike from Edmonton and I know he is a tricky one,” Salo said. “You never know what he is going to do. I was lucky to get a stick on it. It was nice we got a win. I was nervous before the game. Getting the lead helped me relax.”
Barnaby said the Avalanche “make you feel comfortable and that helps the new guys coming in. My goals aren’t to come in here and score every game. My goal is to do the little things that I do well, but at times add some timely goals. This team has everything. I just want to be a little piece of the pie that wins a Stanley Cup.”
Despite the loss, Phoenix coach Rick Bowness was pleased with his team’s play.
“We played much better than the score indicated,” he said. “It was 1-0 going into the third period, and we had a great chance to win. Then we had three or four glorious scoring opportunities right off the bat and didn’t score. Give Tommy Salo credit. Then we make a mistake in the neutral zone against a veteran team that capitalized.
“The only thing hurting us right now is our inexperience, and there’s nothing anybody can do about that. We just have to let the kids play and learn from their mistakes.”
Liles got the lone goal of the first period, scoring from deep in the slot on a pass from Paul Kariya at 10:43.
Comrie shot wide at an open net on a wraparound try, and Salo made a glove save off Comrie from the right circle.
Colorado’s Milan Hejduk twice hit the post in a scoreless second period. Salo had three more stops on Comrie in the period.
Barnaby, acquired from the New York Rangers on Monday, made it 2-0 at 2:46 of the third period. Konowalchuk intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and passed to Barnaby, who scored from just inside the left circle.
Blake redirected Hejduk’s shot at 15:06, but Comrie spoiled Salo’s shutout bid less than a minute later, scoring from in front of the crease at 15:47.
Gratton got an assist on the final Avalanche goal, by Konowalchuk at 17:59.
Avalanche center Peter Forsberg missed his 14th straight game with a groin injury but has resumed skating. … Avs forward Alex Tanguay, the team’s second-leading scorer, will be out two to three weeks with a sprained right knee, and Dan Hinote is out indefinitely after dislocating his shoulder Friday night against Phoenix. … “Get well, Steve” was among several signs held up by fans in support of Avs forward Steve Moore, who suffered a broken neck whenhit by Vancouver’s Todd Bertuzzi on Monday night.