Work in Sports
PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Facing elimination in their Western Conference quarterfinal series, the Phoenix Coyotes wasted little time letting the Colorado Avalanche know they do not intend to go down without a fight.
Playing with the fire they lacked for the first three games of the series, the Coyotes got an inspired first period from rookie Trevor Letowski, Travis Green and Benoit Hogue, then held on for a 3-2 triumph over Colorado.
Letowski scored 3:31 into the contest, Green tallied just over 14 minutes later and Hogue set up both goals as the Coyotes forced Game Five on Friday in Colorado. Only two teams have rebounded from 3-0 deficits to win a best-of-seven series -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders.
The Coyotes had been outscored 6-1 in the first period of the first three games, but tonight went hard from the opening faceoff.
Phoenix goaltender Sean Burke won for only the second time in his last 13 postseason decisions by turning aside 36 shots.
With the Coyotes dominating play early, he faced only six shots over the first 20 minutes. But he made 18 saves in the second period and 12 in the third.
"I felt good in the dressing room before the game, you could sense a little bit more of a purpose," Burke said. "We can't go out and not give 110 percent, every guy. That team over there has so many talented players that if we have anybody take a night or shift off, it's going to hurt us."
"Burke said before the game that if we give him two he'll take care of business," Coyotes coach Bob Francis added.
"Fortunately, we gave him three. You just can't say enough about Sean's performance."
Mikael Renberg scored the eventual game-winner 38 seconds into the second period when his slap shot from the slot deflected off defenseman Ray Bourque's stick and over the glove of goaltender Patrick Roy.
Dave Andreychuk and Adam Deadmarsh scoerd for Colorado, which was unable to mount a sustained attack after Deadmarsh got them within a goal with 3:58 left. The Avalanche had one last gasp as Peter Forsberg's wrist shot hit Burke in the helmet with 5.3 seconds left.
Colorado had an 11-game winning streak that dated to the regular season snapped, but the Coyotes remain a long shot to snap the franchise's streak of nine consecutive playoff series losses.
"They scored some nice goals," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said.
"You have to give them credit. They had lots of checks and they played well defensively. It's a matter of them putting us behind the eight ball right from the start."
Letowski took advantage of a bounce to break through in the first period. After picking Bourque's pocket behind the net, Letowski threw a shot on net that hit Roy in the back of the leg and trickled in.
"I forechecked on the wall and kind of gave it up to Bourque," Letowski said. "I lifted his stick and didn't have a lot on the shot, so I just tried to bank it off Roy. I was trying to bounce it off toward Dallas (Drake), but we finally got a break."
Green made it 2-0 with his second goal of the series. Hogue found Green near the low slot and, while crashing to the ice, snapped a shot that eluded Roy.
"The 2-0 lead was huge," Coyotes captain Keith Tkachuk said. "We had not had a lead that early and when we have a lead like that, we are tough to beat. It also got the fans in the game and that helps, also."
"We did not come out like we should have in the first," Deadmarsh admitted. "We didn't show up for the task at hand. We didn't play good defensive hockey in the first and we knew they would come out strong."
After Renberg's goal pushed Phoenix's advantage to 3-0, the Coyotes got sloppy and allowed Colorado to answer on the power play 6:03 into the second. But Burke helped keep the Avalanche at bay over the next 30 minutes.
"The first period, we kind of dominated and they only had a couple of chances," Burke said. "In the second period, they kind of dominated. That team did not want to go back for Game Five.
When they started rolling at us pretty good, I felt it was an opportunity for me to step up."
Roy finished with 28 saves.