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Arizona Coyotes fight to force shootout but lose to Avs in huge game

Arizona Coyotes center Vinnie Hinostroza, center, pushes between Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole, left, and right wing Sven Andrighetto in pursuit of the puck in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, March 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Arizona Coyotes scratched and clawed their way to a tie game in the third period on Friday, overcoming a 2-0 deficit with two third-period goals but eventually lost 3-2 in the shootout.

The loss means the Coyotes no longer control their destiny in securing the second Western Conference Wild Card playoff spot. Instead, Arizona sits three points back of Colorado. The Coyotes did, however, earn one point in their non-regulation loss, and neither team saw an uptick in one of the tiebreaker categories: ROW (regulation and overtime wins).

The Coyotes are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

Arizona defended Colorado well off the rush, attempting to stymie a team that features arguably the best trio of forwards in the game: Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen, though, was missing from the lineup as he was day-to-day with an injury. Landeskog played for the first time since March 7.

But it was the Avalanche power play that netted Colorado two goals and went 2-for-4. A MacKinnon tally at 13:37 in the second period beat goaltender Darcy Kuemper with good puck movement by the Avs down low.

A Derick Brassard shot from the slot with 0:34 to go in the second period made it 2-0.

But two late goals from Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 12:00 and 19:09 in the third period, respectively, tied the game. Those were Ekman-Larsson’s 13th and 14th goals of the season.

To overtime it went, where neither team scored. Only MacKinnon scored for either team in the shootout, and the Avalanche won to get to 85 points on the year.

Kuemper, who was starting his 19th consecutive game, made 25 saves. Arizona outshot Colorado 44-27.

To read more about how the loss affects the Coyotes’ playoff chances, click here.

The Coyotes anticipate a sold out crowd on Sunday vs. Minnesota at 2 p.m. A limited number of standing room only tickets will be available for purchase at the Gila River Arena box office. Standing room only upper level tickets are priced at $25. Fans can call 480-563-PUCK for tickets.

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