Coyotes-Avalanche Preview

The Associated Press

While the Phoenix Coyotes are in danger of concluding their trip with three consecutive defeats, they have played well in Colorado of late.

The Avalanche are looking to regroup following a disappointing trek of their own.

The slumping Coyotes will again be without captain Shane Doan as they go for a fifth win in six visits to Pepsi Center on Tuesday night.

Phoenix (16-8-5) opened its trip with a 6-2 win over Edmonton last Tuesday before losing 4-1 in Calgary the following night. The Coyotes also came up short Friday in a 3-2 overtime defeat to Vancouver.

Antoine Vermette and David Moss scored in the third period to forge a tie, but Mike Smith allowed the game-winning goal 3:41 into OT. Smith finished with 29 saves as the Coyotes dropped to 2-4-2 in their last eight.

"We're trying to defend better, and we're giving up less shots and less chances against," coach Dave Tippett told the team's official website. "But going into the trip, this game is about winning and getting points. We got only got three of six and for where we are, we need a better percentage than that."

Phoenix could be looking forward to stopping in Colorado, where it's won four of five while surrendering eight goals. The Coyotes are 10-1-3 in the overall series dating to March 2010, but the Avalanche have taken the last two matchups, including a 4-3 overtime win at Phoenix on Nov. 21.

Doan, who recorded an assist that night, has 10 goals and 18 assists during a 23-game stretch versus Colorado. The veteran forward, though, will miss a second consecutive game due to illness.

"He's a big piece of our puzzle, but if he's out other guys have to take more (responsibility) and have to step up," said Tippett, whose club will also be without defenseman Derek Morris and forward Lauri Korpikoski. "He's a big player that plays with skill. He plays hard and in front of the net on the power play and provides leadership in the dressing room. But there are players that we have that can take some of that slack."

The Avalanche (20-8-0) also struggled against the Canucks, falling 3-1 on Sunday to finish a 1-2-0 trip. Jamie McGinn's goal with 7.1 seconds left in regulation helped Colorado avoid its first shutout of the season.

"We pulled the goalie with five minutes left in the game, and it was important for us as coaches to show our players that, 'We are not quitting,' and they did the same thing - they kept going," coach Patrick Roy said. "All year we've been like this. We never quit. We battled through, and I honestly thought we played a better game than (Vancouver). Unfortunately, we have nothing to show for the result."

The previously unbeaten Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped just 18 shots in dropping to 7-1-0 with a 1.83 goals-against average.

"These are just stats for you (media) guys to talk about," Giguere said. "It was nice, but I try to go in there and compete every day, and unfortunately losing is part of the game too. I'm just going to regroup and get ready for the next chance I get to play."

Giguere is 0-1-5 with a 2.95 GAA in his last eight games against the Coyotes. Semyon Varlamov was 0-3-1 with a 3.95 GAA over a four-game stretch versus Phoenix before making a season-high 41 saves in last month's win.

Smith has gone 8-1-3 against Colorado while compiling a 1.85 GAA, his lowest career mark against any team.

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