Tuesday night was shaping up to be a pretty special night for Antoine Vermette, and that was before the Phoenix Coyotes center took the ice at the Pepsi Center.
But Vermette, who was playing in his 700th career game, decided to make the night a little more meaningful for both he and his team.
Phoenix scored three goals in the second period on Colorado Avalanche nemtinder Semyon Varlamov, including two by Vermette, on its way to a 3-1 road victory against the team currently holding the No. 2 Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Vermette’s first tally of the night came on the power play, as he was fed a beautiful back-handed pass by defenseman Keith Yandle that he promptly put past Varlamov.
His second came just 65 seconds after Colorado’s Patrick Bordeleau cut the deficit to one on a flukey goal that involved Michael Stone clearing the puck off of Thomas Greiss’ left pad and into the back of the net.
A strong forecheck by Zbynek Michalek in Phoenix’s own zone created the offensive chance, and Mikkel Boedker took full advantage, leaving a perfect puck for Oliver Ekman-Larsson to finish off on a one-timer. Ekman-Larsson’s shot hit of Varlamov’s left pad and right to Vermette, who happily finished off the rebound from the left of the crease.
Aside from Vermette’s two-goal night, Greiss played very well in net. In a scoreless first period, the Coyotes back-up goaltender stopped all 11 shots he faced.
On the night, the first-year Coyote stopped 29 of 30 shots. He moved to 4-0-0 in his career against Colorado, as well.
Outside of the Bordeleau’s flukey goal in the second period, not a lot went wrong for Phoenix in the Mile High City.
Center Mike Ribiero was briefly shaken up after getting crushed against the boards on a legal hit near center ice, but he came back to skate on his next shift — which just so happened to result in Vermette’s power play goal.
– Vermette’s last two-goal game also came against Colorado back on April 26, 2013.
– Phoenix moved to 8-2-2 in games following two days off or more.
– Greiss has made three starts in the Coyotes’ last six games, after making just two in their first 24 games.
– Michalek made his first appearance for Phoenix since suffering a lower-body injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.
The Coyotes return home from their road trip for a mini home stand starting Thursday night. First up at Jobing.com Arena is a non-conference matchup with John Taveras and the New York Islanders. Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MST and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.