Updated at: 12/11/2013 12:05 AM
(AP) DENVER - Antoine Vermette scored two goals, Thomas Greiss stopped 29 shots and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Jordan Szwarz also had a goal for the Coyotes, who won for just the second time in five games.
Phoenix has struggled of late, going 3-5-2 in its past 10 games to slip to ninth in the Western Conference. Tuesday’s win pulled the Coyotes within a point of Colorado.
Patrick Bordeleau scored his fourth goal of the season and goalie Semyon Varlamov had 22 saves for the Avalanche, who have lost three of their past four. Despite a strong start to the season, Colorado is eighth in the Western Conference.
After a scoreless first half of the game, the goals came quickly. Vermette got the first one when he scored on a give-and-go with defenseman Keith Yandle at 8:31 of the second period.
Szwarz made it 2-0 a little more than three minutes later when he scored on Jeff Halpern’s rebound.
Colorado got back in the game briefly with a little help from the Coyotes. Bordeleau charged at defenseman Michael Stone, whose pass from behind the net clipped off Bordeleau and hit the back of Greiss’ skate and into the net.
Vermette quickly responded with his ninth goal when he scored off Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s rebound 1:05 later.
Colorado had opportunities to take the early lead, but Greiss was sharp. He stopped centers Paul Stastny and Maxime Talbot close in and defenseman Andre Benoit on a breakaway.
The Avalanche couldn’t mount much of a rally early in the third. They had just five shots in the first 13 minutes of the period before putting pressure on Greiss. Varlamov came off for an extra skater in the final minute, but Colorado managed just one more shot.
Notes: Vermette’s only hat trick was April 3, 2008, when he was playing for Ottawa. ... Coyotes RW Shane Doan (illness) missed his second straight game. ... Avalanche C Alex Tanguay had a setback in his return from a knee injury and will likely miss more time. He was expected to return this weekend, but a hip injury will keep him out longer. ... Phoenix D Zbynek Michalek returned to the lineup after a nine-game absence because of a lower-body injury.
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