Defense has the Phoenix Coyotes off to the best 10-game start in franchise history, and it served them again Tuesday night.
The Coyotes got just one goal -- by Keith Tkachuk in the second period -- to match one by Colorado's Peter Forsberg in the first. It was enough for a 1-1 tie that extended their unbeaten string to six in a row.
The Coyotes (6-2-2), who joined the NHL in 1979 as the Winnipeg Jets, had never been better than the 6-3-1 record they had after 10 games in the 1993-94 season.
Phoenix goaltender Jimmy Waite maintained his goal-a-game average and stayed unbeaten in his second start, occasioned by a bruise to Nikolai Khabibulin's right hand. Waite made 20 saves after Forsberg scored on Colorado's first shot.
The Coyotes' defense, meanwhile, continued to be the stingiest in the NHL (16 goals allowed).
"I don't think it's just good goaltending," Forsberg said. "You know, they've got great defensemen -- even if they're offensive defensemen, some of them -- but they've been playing great."
Phoenix stopped the Avalanche, who came in with the 12th-best power play in the league, five times in five advantages, and now has allowed no more than two goals in nine consecutive games.
Patrick Roy (2-7-2), off to a slow start as Colorado tries to deal with injuries to defensemen that saw them trade for Cam Russell and call up Dan Smith from Hershey this week, had 24 saves.
In the final minute of regulation, he stopped a slap shot by Jeremy Roenick and Teppo Numminen's attempt to score on the rebound.
"We'll take the point," roenick said. "We'd rather have a win. We had a chance. Jimmy made a couple of fantastic saves for us, and on the two-one-one I had, I had the whole other-side corner. I just hit it too hard and missed my mark."
| Rick Tocchet delivers a right to the head of Colorado's Jeff Buchanan on Tuesday night. Both players received four-minutes penalties. (AP) |
Colorado owned the Coyotes until this season, winning its first eight games after the Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996. But the Coyotes are 2-0-1 against the Avalanche this season.
The Coyotes outshot the Avalanche 9-3 in the first period, but still trailed 1-0 until Tkachuk scored with 6:36 left in the second, flicking the puck past Roy's stick side after a pass from Jeremy Roenick.
It was the seventh goal for Tkachuk, who has scored at least 40 goals four of the last five seasons.
Forsberg, who leads the NHL in assists (15), got his third goal 3:23 into the game on a similar play.
He was just outside the crease on Waite's glove side when he hauled in a wide pass from Chris Drury and sent it into the net.
"It would have been good to win, but we came back from an early goal, and the guys worked so hard I think we just outplayed them," Waite said.
It was the first game Colorado failed to win in 25 since last season when Forsberg scored.
"I haven't got so many goals this year, but it's always nice when you get something," he said.
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