Tumbling Avalanche

The short-handed Colorado Avalanche haven't won consecutive games in almost three weeks. They'll look to change that and avoid a third straight loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday at the Pepsi Center.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Colorado -139 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Colorado -139 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Colorado (28-21-4) won 6-4 at St. Louis on Saturday and continues to hold its own with offensive stars Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny and Ryan Smyth on the injured list.

The Avalanche, tied with Calgary for sixth in the Western Conference, are 3-3-1 since winning three in a row from Jan. 12-15.

Sakic (hernia surgery) and Smyth (ankle) are unlikely to return until late this month at the earliest. Avs leading scorer Stastny (appendectomy) could return within a week, but Colorado has still been looking for other offensive options.

On Saturday, the Avalanche bounced back from a 2-0 loss at Detroit on Friday to score six goals for the second time in three contests.

"Big. Huge,'' Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. "(A 2-0 loss at Detroit), we were 2 minutes away from getting it to overtime. That was disappointing and a tough loss. I like how we rebounded.''

Rookie T.J. Hensick and Ben Guite each had two goals, while Tyler Arnason had a goal and an assist. Wojtek Wolski added two assists for the Avalanche.

"It's good to help this team offensively," said Hensick, who has three goals on the season and three points in his last three games. "I think at some point in time as this learning process continues, I'll be able to help this team a little more offensively.''

Colorado hopes to find some consistency in the offensive end after scoring 15 goals in its last three wins, but just three in its four most recent defeats. The Avalanche have been outscored 9-5 in two losses to Phoenix this season, most recently a 5-2 home defeat Jan. 2 as it was swept in a home-and-home series.

Peter Budaj, who made 28 saves Saturday to snap a personal four-game losing streak, was in goal for both losses to Phoenix. He could be in net again Monday if Jose Theodore remains out due to back spasms.

Despite his last two performances against them, Budaj is 6-1-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average versus the Coyotes.

Phoenix (27-22-3) is three points back of the Avalanche and looking to become the first team to win twice in Denver this season, but will be trying to avoid a third consecutive defeat after falling 3-2 in overtime at Nashville on Saturday.

Shane Doan and Steve Reinprecht scored for Phoenix, which is 1-1-1 on a five-game road trip that concludes at Calgary on Monday.

"I think we're definitely glad we got the point,'' said Reinprecht, who looks to extend his point streak to six games when he faces his former team Monday.

Four of Reinprecht's 13 goals have come against the Avs, with whom he spent two seasons from 2001-03. He had three goals and an assist in the teams' most recent meeting.

Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 34 saves Saturday, will likely get the chance to win his third straight over the Avalanche. He's posted a 2.41 GAA in two starts against them this season.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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