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Avalanche Vs. Coyotes: Colorado Looks To Snap Four-Game Losing Streak

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will attempt to wrap a six-game homestand with a ninth victory in 11 contests and sweep their season series with the Colorado Avalanche tonight at Arena.

The Coyotes are 3-2 on their residency and bested the Stars, 2-1, in a shootout on Tuesday. With just two losses in its last 10 games, Phoenix remains fourth overall in the Western Conference with 95 points, one point ahead of Los Angeles. The Coyotes have four games remaining to the Kings' five.

Phoenix is also just four points back of San Jose, which also has a game in hand, for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Coyotes, though, can still have a say in how the standings will shake down. The club will visit the Kings on Wednesday before wrapping the season with a home-and-home set against the Sharks.

David Schlemko scored in regulation and Ray Whitney had the winner in the shootout on Tuesday, helping Ilya Bryzgalov match Bob Essensa for first place on the club's all-time wins list with 129.

"I'm not really thinking about big game or not," said Bryzgalov, who made a career-high 44 saves. "You enjoy every game."

Bryzgalov is 7-4-2 with a 2.31 goals-against average in his career versus the Avalanche, including a pair of victories this season.

Phoenix has sandwiched a pair of shutout victories over Colorado around a 5-2 road win on Jan. 26, outscoring the Avalanche 10-2 this season while running its overall series winning streak to five straight.

The Coyotes' 3-0 home victory on Feb. 7 also gave them a win in five straight and six of the past seven played in the desert, but Phoenix hasn't swept the Colorado franchise since the Winnipeg Jets took all three meetings from the Quebec Nordiques in 1990-91.

Colorado will try to get on track tonight after dropping a fourth straight contest last night. The Avalanche got late goals from Paul Stastny and John- Michael Liles, but couldn't overcome an early hole and fell 3-2 at home to the Predators.

Brian Elliott made 31 saves for the Avs, who are 3-22-2 in their past 27 games and fell to 15-19-4 at home this season. They are 13-21-4 on the road and reached the 40-loss mark for the second time in three seasons.

"We've already had some success on the road, seems like we play better there," said Avs forward Milan Hejduk of the club's late-season slide in front of less than enthusiastic crowds. "I don't know what the explanation is. I realize what the attendance is. It's not what it used to be. It's our own fault."

Matt Duchene had an assist to give him six goals and six helpers over his last nine games.

Colorado's 64 points are ahead of only Edmonton's 57 in the overall NHL standings.

Elliott has split a pair of decisions versus the Coyotes with a 2.55 GAA, while Peter Budaj is 7-3-3 against them with a 2.70 GAA.