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Series at a Glance

Two very different ideas of what the playoffs are about

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Posted: Wednesday April 12, 2000 06:33 PM

By David Vecsey,

As far as Phoenix fans are concerned, the NHL playoffs are a one-round affair.

Three appearances, three first-round exits. In fact, the franchise hasn't won a series since Winnipeg beat Calgary in 1987. Since then 0-8. And it doesn't get any easier this year against Colorado, a team that has gone to the conference finals in three of the last four postseasons.

After the Theo Fleury pick-up didn't pan out last season, you wouldn't have blamed Pierre Lacroix if he had stood still at the trading deadline this season. Instead, he went out and landed one of the most heralded defensemen in the history of the NHL. And ever since Ray Bourque has joined the Avs, they have played like contenders, winning 14 of their last 17 games.
Season Series Recap

Phoenix 5, Colorado 3

DENVER, Oct. 30 -- Phoenix became the first visiting team to win at the Pepsi Center, scoring three times in the third period to complete a comeback from two down. Travis Green had two goals for Phoenix, while Jeremy Roenick and Jyrki Lumme also scored. Sandis Ozolinsh scored twice for Colorado, which was outshot 30-18.

Phoenix 7, Colorado 0

PHOENIX, Nov. 26 -- Jeremy Roenick recorded his second hat trick in 24 hours and added an assist as the Phoenix won its fifth straight and handed Colorado its worst loss of the season. Keith Tkachuk added a pair of power-play for the Coyotes, who are unbeaten in the last six meetings with the Avalanche (5-0-1), outscoring them, 27-8. Sean Burke stopped 28 shots for his 20th career shutout and first since being acquired from Florida a week earlier. Avs goalie Patrick Roy surrendered all seven goals on 31 shots to fall to 0-4-1 in his last five starts.

Colorado 2, Phoenix 0

DENVER, Jan. 17 -- This time it was Colorado that came into the game as the hot team, and they went on to win their fourth straight and remain unbeaten in nine of their last 10 to jump past Phoenix into third place in the Western Conference. Avs backup Marc Denis made 27 saves for his second straight home shutout. Robert Esche became the third Phoenix goalie to start against Colorado this season. Joe Sakic scored just 13 seconds into the game, marking the third straight game in which the Avs scored on their first shift.

Colorado 4, Phoenix 2

PHOENIX, March 23 -- Joe Sakic's second hat trick of the season included his 400th NHL goal and made him the leading scorer in franchise history. It also helped the Colorado Avalanche end a three-game winless streak. Sakic scored twice during a double-minor to Shane Doan. Peter Forsberg also scored for Colorado, which regained sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division, two points ahead of idle Edmonton. Marc Denis was the winner in net for Colorado; Bob Essensa was in net for Phoenix.

Storylines We're Following

Ray of hope

After all the hoopla, the heart-wrenching decisions and the awkwardness of seeing him in anything other than a Boston uniform, Ray Bourque is finally on his mission for the long-elusive Stanley Cup championship. It seems to be assumed that Bourque is making a last-ditch effort to go out a winner, but he just may be back - somewhere - next season regardless of how things pan out.

Learning with Phoenix

The Coyotes/Jets have lost their last nine postseason series, including the last eight in the first round ... but never without a fight. The last seven series have gone at least six games, with four going seven.

Man of the Hour

Joe Sakic made a quantum leap on Leap Day and has scored 17 of his 28 goals since. Yes, Ray Bourque has seemingly scored in every game since his acquisition, but Sakic has seemingly scored twice in every game.

Man on the Spot

It's a near certainty that Keith Tkachuk will leave Phoenix after this season. With what legacy is up to him now. He can either make Bobby Smith's job very, very hard or very, very easy.

Peter Forsberg His constant and various injuries are weighing down what should be a spectacular career
Ray Bourque 8 goals, 6 assists in 14 games with Avs
Coyotes goalies Neither Bob Essensa nor Sean Burke have played poorly, but wouldn't you rather have Nikolai Khabibulin?
Refundable Prediction

Bet the over.

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