Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/22/12
Following a nearly perfect February, wins have been hard to come by this month for a Phoenix Coyotes team in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Making matters worse, they'll have to host the surging Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night without their captain. The NHL suspended Phoenix right wing Shane Doan three games Wednesday for elbowing Jamie Benn in the head during Tuesday's 4-3 shootout loss to Dallas. Doan was also suspended three games in 2010, making him a repeat offender under the league's collective bargaining agreement. He has played in all 74 games this season and ranks third on the team in goals (21), assists (26) and points (47). Doan had two goals the last time the Coyotes faced Colorado, a 6-1 home win for Phoenix on Jan. 16. The Coyotes (36-26-12) and Stars entered Tuesday's game tied atop the Pacific Division, but with the shootout victory Dallas took a one-point lead. The loss dropped Phoenix, 3-5-3 in March after an 11-0-1 February, into an eighth-place tie with Los Angeles, though the Kings have a game in hand. "We found a way to get a point and we move on," coach Dave Tippett said. The Coyotes didn't look like they were going to get a point when they trailed 3-1 entering the third period. Oliver Ekman-Larsson's short-handed goal at 8:51 of the third got Phoenix within one, and Ray Whitney tied the score with 5:02 remaining with his 23rd goal. It marked the third time in five games the Coyotes rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit to earn at least one point, but the team knows it can't continue to play that way. "We've been in that spot too many times," said Lauri Korpikoski, who scored in the first period. "We're spending too much energy chasing from behind." If Phoenix falls behind again Thursday, it might not be able to stage a comeback against a Colorado team that has been stingy defensively, allowing one goal in each of its last three games. The Avs arrive in Arizona with a 5-0-1 record since March 10 and having won 11 of their last 15. They defeated Calgary 2-1 on Tuesday when David Jones scored 3:51 into overtime. Paul Stastny added his 19th goal of the season, and second in the last two games after scoring just once in his previous 12 contests. By beating the Flames, Colorado (40-30-5) moved into sole possession of seventh place in the West with 85 points - one more than the Coyotes and Kings. "A huge win for us and a huge two points," said Semyon Varlamov, who made 31 saves. "We're in a battle for a playoff spot and it's not going to be easy." Varlamov has been instrumental to Colorado's playoff push, posting a 1.91 goals-against average while winning his last five starts. He is 10-2-0 with a 1.48 GAA and two shutouts since Feb. 22. "He's playing great for us," defenseman Shane O'Brien said. "We're going to continue to try and get better in front of him and limit (the opponent's) chances, and if we do that we have a good chance of winning." Varlamov has been in net for all three games against the Coyotes this season. He stopped 25 shots in a 3-2 win Dec. 29, but surrendered nine total goals in losing the other two. Phoenix's Mike Smith was in net for both wins against the Avs - stopping 77 of 79 shots - and is 3-0-1 with a 0.98 GAA in four career starts versus Colorado. He is 3-4-2 with a 3.02 GAA and a shutout in March, however, after recording a 1.42 GAA while winning all 11 of his February starts.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Westbrook gets emotional thanking family in MVP speech

Malcolm Brogdon makes history by beating out Saric, Embiid for Rookie of the Year

Bill Russell delivers epic line after winning NBA lifetime achievement award

Draymond Green ensemble at NBA Awards must be seen to believe

Victor Oladipo gets schooled by young boy at basketball camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall trying to recruit Paul George to join Wizards

Report: Saints looking at ways to recoup guaranteed money owed to Nick Fairley

Martellus Bennett thinks Rodgers is better than Brady?

Fairley expected to miss 2017 season due to heart condition

Cousins could get more than $30 million per year in free agency?

Charlie Sheen puts Babe Ruth trade contract, World Series ring up for auction

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker