The New Jersey Devils' comeback bid fell short in their latest game, but their ability to bounce back from a loss has rarely been an issue.
The Devils try to avoid their first back-to-back defeats in nearly two months Saturday night as they continue a five-game road trip in Colorado, where the Avalanche hope to carry the momentum from a pair of shootout victories into a five-game homestand.
Martin Brodeur has again been brilliant this season, starting all but five of his team's games as New Jersey (32-12-1) has allowed the fewest goals in the league.
The Devils have the league's best road record, and Brodeur was 14-4-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average away from home after making 51 saves in a 1-0 shootout win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
Brodeur wasn't at his best Thursday, though. New Jersey outshot Phoenix 15-1 in the second period and 34-19 overall, but the Coyotes broke a 2-all tie in the third with two goals in 1:16 -- the latter on the power play -- en route to a 4-3 win.
"They were resilient tonight," said Devils forward Brian Rolston, who snapped a 10-game scoreless drought with two goals. "As much pressure as we had on them, they worked itů A lot of times it comes down to special teams in the end, and that's what happened."
New Jersey should feel good about its chance to rebound against the Avalanche (26-15-6). The Devils haven't dropped back-to-back games since a 0-2-1 stretch from Nov. 16-21, and haven't gone consecutive games without earning a point since their first two of the season.
They're 9-2-1 overall following a loss, and their top line has helped them make sure to avoid lengthy losing streaks. Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac have accounted for 17 of New Jersey's 35 goals in those 12 games.
Zajac, who has a goal and three assists in two career games against Colorado, has been especially hot of late, recording four goals and three assists in his last five games.
The Avalanche lost 2-1 in Carolina last Friday to open a three-game road trip, but they have Craig Anderson to thank for heading home with two victories.
Anderson made 32 stops and denied eight more attempts in a shootout in a 4-3 win at Northeast Division-leading Buffalo on Saturday, then made 44 saves in a 3-2 shootout victory in Calgary on Monday.
Anderson, who'd never made more than 27 starts in his first six seasons, has started 39 of 50 contests in his first season in Colorado.
"There's no thinking involved, you're not wondering when you're going to get your next start, you just go out there and play," he said. "Ask any goaltender that's a starting goaltender in the National Hockey League, it's just rhythm, it's knowing that you're the guy they're counting on."
Despite his first job as a No. 1 goaltender, Anderson hasn't been great at the Pepsi Center. After winning his first five home starts, he's 4-5-2 with a 3.33 GAA.
Anderson won't have to think hard to remember his last start against the Devils, on Feb. 28, 2009, while with Florida. Parise scored twice in a 7-2 rout of the Panthers, the most goals Anderson has allowed in his career.
Brodeur is 5-3-0 with a tie, two shutouts and a 1.99 GAA in nine starts in Colorado.