- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

DENVER (AP) - Al Montoya made 23 saves to earn a shutout in his first NHL game, Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan scored a goal each, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the reeling Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Montoya, recalled from the AHL on March 23, led the Coyotes to their third win in four games.

Andrew Raycroft had 32 saves for the Avalanche, who have lost eight straight.

Boedker gave Phoenix the early lead with his 11th goal. He picked up the loose puck out of a scrum in front, moved to his left, and wristed a shot past goalie Andrew Raycroft 6:28 into the game.

Doan scored an insurance goal, his 30th goal of the season, with 12:43 left, and Zbynek Michalek added an empty-netter with 2.2 seconds remaining.

Colorado, the last-place team in the Western Conference, hopes to have captain Joe Sakic back before the end of the season. Sakic, who has missed 62 games with back and hand injuries, said Wednesday he is still trying to get the strength back in his leg after surgery in January to repair a herniated disk.

“I just want to be able to try to come back,” said the 39-year-old forward, who recently returned to the ice but has yet to go through a contact practice. “Where the future stands, I’m not too sure.”

Sakic was one of eight regular players out of the lineup against Phoenix, and the news got worse for Colorado. Forward Ryan Smyth injured a hand in the second period. Smyth, who leads the team with 59 points, is one of two Avalanche players to play in all 77 games this season.

Colorado’s eight-game losing streak matches the franchise’s longest, set in January 1992.

The Avalanche’s last home win came March 12 against Minnesota, a span of four games. They will finish below .500 for the first time since 1993-94, when they were the Quebec Nordiques _ one season before the team moved to Colorado. The Avalanche have been outscored 35-10 during their losing streak, including 21-4 at home.

[email protected]: Avalanche F Wojtek Wolski (undisclosed illness) missed his third straight game. … The Avalanche were shut out for the ninth time this season. … Doan reached the 30-goal mark for the second time in his 13-year career.

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