Good starts have been hard to come by for the Arizona Coyotes this season, despite their winning record. But they got one on Monday night, and it helped them start off a long road trip with a win.
Derick Brassard, Jakob Chychrun and Johan Larsson scored goals, and Antti Raanta stopped 16 shots off the bench in the Coyotes’ 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Of bigger concern for the Coyotes could be the health of Darcy Kuemper, their top goalie who is widely viewed as Arizona’s best player. Kuemper left the game early in the third period with an unspecified but seemingly non-contact injury.
Soon after Kuemper was replaced by Raanta, Larsson scored the go-ahead goal with 15:54 left in the game.
The Coyotes grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period on Brassard’s power play goal and Chychrun’s long-distance goal through traffic. It was only the fourth time they’ve held a lead after the first 20 minutes all season.
The Avalanche, playing without star Nathan MacKinnon, drew even with two second-period goals.
Clayton Keller and Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two assists each, and Arizona got its fifth straight road victory and first over the Avs this season. The Coyotes have won five straight games away from home for the first time since Oct. 13- Nov. 15, 2011.
Keller has a season-long five-game point streak.
The Coyotes had their two goals on four first-period shots and had only three more in the second period.
The Coyotes were lucky to escape the second period without being down on the scoreboard. Valeri Nichushkin and Andre Burakovsky scored for the Avalanche, with Burakovsky’s goal at 14:52 of the period the result of a tripping penalty against the Coyotes’ Frederik Gauthier, who was playing in just his second game since coming up from the taxi squad.
The third period got off to a strange start when Kuemper appeared to gesture to an official that he needed a stoppage in play. Then Larsson was credited with his third goal in five games, knocking down a blistering shot from Ekman-Larsson that found the net.
Raanta came up big several times in the third, joining Adin Hill with the Coyotes’ second win for a backup goalie pressed into late service this season. It was Raanta’s fourth win of the season.
The Coyotes had to fend off a 6-on-4 situation in the closing seconds of the game, after a late penalty.
The Coyotes face the Avalanche again Wednesday night in Denver. It will be the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams.