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Now that the Phoenix Coyotes have secured their first win in two weeks, they'll have to keep their momentum going without one of their top players.
The Coyotes look to make it two in a row Friday, but won't have Olli Jokinen available as they open a four-game homestand against the Colorado Avalanche.
Phoenix (9-10-2) posted a season-high three-game winning streak from Nov. 8-12, but went on to lose its next six contests. Three of those defeats came at the start of a four-game road trip that was capped by a 3-2 victory at Columbus on Wednesday.
But the win was a costly one as Jokinen was injured in the first period, when he was checked hard into the boards. Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky didn't provide details surrounding the shoulder injury, but said the center could miss "two to four weeks."
Jokinen's consecutive-game streak ends at 397 as he'll miss his first contest since 2002-03 while playing for Florida, which dealt him to Phoenix in June.
He leads the Coyotes with 11 assists and is second with 18 points, but Gretzky said that his absence might give other players a chance to contribute to an offense that is averaging just 2.43 goals this season. Unlikely scorers David Hale and Daniel Carcillo tallied Wednesday.
"At the end of the day, it could be a good thing for this hockey club," Gretzky told the Coyotes' official Web site. "Now in saying that, we're definitely going to miss what he brings to the team, but this gives him a few weeks to rest and regroup, and when he comes back he'll be fresher."
Injuries have also hampered Colorado (10-11-0), which learned Tuesday that winger Darcy Tucker (knee) will be sidelined approximately four weeks. Ben Guite (ribs) is also out indefinitely, while Adam Foote (upper back/knee) and John-Michael Liles (flu) are day-to-day.
But the Avalanche had captain Joe Sakic back in the lineup Wednesday for a 3-1 home victory over St. Louis. He played 23 shifts, but didn't register a point after missing seven of the last eight contests with a back injury and a tooth infection.
Ian Laperriere and Daniel Tjarnqvist contributed a goal and an assist apiece for Colorado, which has won five of eight (5-3-0) following a five-game slide.
Peter Budaj has been key for the Avalanche in that span, boasting a 1.78 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage in those eight starts. He made 21 saves and helped kill all three penalties Wednesday, but said the win was a team effort.
"We didn't allow them much, and we capitalized on our chances and played a great game," Budaj said. "It was a great job by the players, blocking the shots, winning the battles and jumping on loose pucks."
Budaj is 6-1-3 with a 2.76 GAA in 10 career games versus the Coyotes, but has lost his last three outings.
Meanwhile, Phoenix goalie Mikael Tellqvist made a season-high 38 saves Wednesday and will start again Friday in place of the struggling Ilya Bryzgalov.
Tellqvist has compiled a 1.97 GAA and a .928 save percentage in splitting two career starts against the Avalanche.
The Coyotes won three of four matchups with Colorado last season. However, the Avalanche are 19-5-4 with two ties in the series since Jan. 17, 2000.