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Montoya shuts out Colorado in NHL debut

(AP) — Al Montoya sure didn’t look like a guy making his NHL debut.

Montoya made 23 saves to earn a shutout and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the reeling Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Wednesday night.

"I couldn’t let this feel like my first game," Montoya said. "I had to play it like I’ve been here before. That’s the attitude I came with."

Montoya, recalled from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage on March 23, led the Coyotes to their third win in four games. He faced only five shots in the first period and three in the third but came up with the big saves when needed.

"I thought early in the game he made a couple of key saves. It was a real solid effort for a guy playing his first NHL game," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "Good for him. Hopefully this is something good to go from here."

It wasn’t until Zbynek Michalek’s empty-net goal that Montoya relaxed and enjoyed the shutout.

"Not until the last 3 seconds when we scored," he said. "It’s unreal to get the win, but at the same time it’s icing on the top."

The last goalie to post a shutout in his NHL debut was Dallas’ Mike Smith, who blanked the Coyotes 4-0 on Oct. 21, 2006.

The sixth overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers, Montoya is 81-57-6 with nine shutouts in 162 career AHL appearances with San Antonio and Hartford. He participated in the AHL All-Star Classic as a rookie in 2006.