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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, February 28th (All times Eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (27-21-11) at Colorado Avalanche (37-17-5), 9 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes try to grab hold of a playoff spot on Friday night as they visit the Colorado Avalanche.

The Coyotes picked up a point last night with a 3-2 shootout setback to the Winnipeg Jets, and are one point behind the idle Dallas Stars, who beat the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Phoenix got regulation goals from Martin Hanzal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, while Mike Smith made 27 saves in his club's second straight setback.

After the first four shooters missed to open the shootout, Devin Setoguchi ripped a shot past Smith's blocker to put the Jets on top, but Antoine Vermette answered for Phoenix at the other end.

Olli Jokinen then flipped a wrister over Smith's stick-side before Ondrej Pavelec poke-checked the puck away from Mike Ribeiro to lift the Jets to victory.

"I thought we deserved to win that game," Smith said. "You know a couple bad breaks and goals in our end, a couple posts, and that's the difference."

It is unknown if Smith will the start on back-to-back nights or if backup Thomas Greiss will get the call.

Both have good career numbers in this matchup. Smith is 8-1-3 with a 1.85 goals against average and .940 save percentage in 12 previous meetings with the Avs, while Greiss is 4-0-0 with a 1.25 GAA and .963 save percentage in four encounters.

The Avalanche have lost three of four and sit third in the Central Division, five points back of co-leaders Chicago and St. Louis.

Colorado came out of the Olympic break with a 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, getting a goal and an assist from both Jamie McGinn and Ryan O'Reilly. P.A. Parenteau and Andre Benoit also scored and backup Jean- Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves on 27 shots faced.

"No one is perfect after two weeks off," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "But we've been working hard and you don't want to let a game like this affect you, especially because I think there are a lot of positives. I think we need to come back on Friday (against Phoenix) with the same attitude that we had today."

Semyon Varlamov, who played for Russia during the recent Sochi Olympics, will start tonight and is 3-5-1 with a 3.27 GAA and .890 save percentage in his career versus the Coyotes.

Defenseman Erik Johnson will serve the second and final game of his suspension for a slash versus the New York Islanders before the break.

The Avs and Coyotes have split two prior meetings this season, with each club notching a win on the road.

Phoenix has won five of the last seven encounters overall as well as two straight and five of the past six played in Colorado.

02/28 10:50:20 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
3rd
CAR 1
MIN 3
 
4th
CHA 95
TOR 78
 
Final
STL 5
HOU 2
 
Final
BOS 3
MIA 5
 
Final
TAM 2
MIN 1
 
Final
PHI 1
NYY 4
 
Final
ATL 8
WAS 9
 
Final
TOR 5
BAL 4
 
Final
NYM 5
DET 4
Final
SDP 5
CWS 0
 
Final
CHC 2
CIN 5
 
Final
CLE 9
KAN 11
 
Final
MIL 1
LOS 10
 
Final
TEX 3
SFG 12
 
Final
LOS 7
SEA 4
 
Final
ANA 3
COL 0
 
Final
ARI 2
OAK 7
 
6th
NYY 0
PIT 3
 
4th
IND 83
CHI 75
 
4th
WAS 94
MIA 87
 
4th
ORL 105
SAC 100
 
4th
CHA 95
TOR 78
 
4th
PHI 63
UTA 71
 
3rd
ATL 63
CLE 60
 
Half
NOP 47
BOS 47
 
Half
HOU 54
DET 46
 
Half
MEM 43
LAL 46
 
2nd
BRK 44
PHO 50
 
2nd
SAN 32
DEN 29
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
DAL
Final
MVSU 75
ARKPB 94
 
Final
CSOU 60
LONG 68
 
Final
WICHS 56
SILL 45
Final
RAD 66
WINT 67
 
Final
ILLST 71
EVAN 67
Final
HIGH 71
GWEBB 72
 
Final
UNCG 81
SAMF 76
 
Final
ELON 74
TOWS 69
 
2nd
KSU 77
AKR 77
 
2nd
BUF 71
BGU 70
 
2nd
DART 75
BRO 69
 
2nd
WMICH 67
CMICH 57
 
2nd
PENN 52
CLMB 46
 
Final
PRIN 66
CORN 53
 
2nd
OU 66
ILLCH 69
 
Final
OHIO 95
UMO 65
 
2nd
BST 52
NILL 55
 
Final
EMICH 85
TOL 59
 
Final
NIOWA 71
BRAD 46
 
2nd
MURST 55
MORE 56
 
2nd
HARV 21
YALE 29
 
1st
DREX 14
COC 7
 
1st
CITA 18
FUR 25
 
1st
CCAR 11
UNCA 8
 
1st
USF 3
PAC 5
 
1st
BAY 0
TTU 0
 
9:30pm Tonight
EKENT
BEL
9:30pm Tonight
CLST
DET
9:35pm Tonight
INDST
LOYC
11:30pm Tonight
SCU
LMU
3rd
NJD 1
CLB 3
 
3rd
CAR 1
MIN 3
 
2nd
OTT 1
BUF 2
 
2nd Intermission
DET 2
CAL 3
 
1st
CHI 0
EDM 1
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
PIT