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Video: Boedker's Second
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -
Two goals by rookie Mikkel Boedker helped catapult the Coyotes to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Peter Mueller and Olli Jokinen, who played his first game against Florida since being traded to Phoenix in June, added goals for the Coyotes in front of 14,807 spectators.
“We really started attacking the net in the second period and that was the difference in the hockey game,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “It turned things around for us … I just thought our team played really well.”
Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was terrific again making 26 saves while improving Phoenix’s record to 6-6-0.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Gretzky said. “I think he is seeing the puck as well as I have ever seen him play. He has really been tremendous.”
Richard Zednik scored Florida’s goal on a deflection off a shot from former Phoenix defenseman Nick Boynton, which caromed past Bryzgalov off current Coyotes blueliner Keith Yandle at 13:49 of the first period.
With the loss, Florida (4-8-1) is winless in its past six games and without a victory on its current four-game trip that ends in Anaheim Sunday night.
The Coyotes registered a season-high 39 shots on goal.
“It was more a priority of getting traffic and people in front of the net and getting shots to the net instead of relying on tic-tac-toe plays,” Gretzky said of his team’s high shot count. “I thought our guys did a really nice job, especially in the second and third periods, of paying attention to that.”
Jokinen came to Phoenix after playing the previous seven seasons with the Panthers and wasn’t really sure what to expect going up against his former team for the first time.
“In the first 20 minutes, I really didn’t know how to react, but I know after that, I started feeling better,” Jokinen said. “In the second period, we took the game over and started to play the way we can play and (it’s) a big two points.”
Boedker saw a familiar face behind the Panthers bench on Saturday. Peter DeBoer, who was Boedker’s coach last season with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, is in his first season as head coach of the Panthers.
“He made me an NHL player last year ... looking back, he was probably the most impact coach I have ever had,” said Boedker, whom the Coyotes selected with the eighth pick in the 2008 NHL Draft.
Phoenix trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes and scored its first goal on a broken play. Mueller picked up a loose puck in front of Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun and shot it five-hole for his fourth goal of the season midway through the second period.
Boedker broke the tie at 17:43 of the second period. Daniel Winnik found Boedker open and he put the puck into a wide-open net for his first goal of the game, and the Coyotes never looked back.
Jokinen scored his fifth goal of the season after a turnover by former Coyotes defenseman Keith Ballard. After picking up the loose puck in the slot, Jokinen ripped a wrister past Vokoun to give Phoenix a two-goal lead at 5:39 of the third period.
Boedker capped the scoring with a nifty play. After receiving a pass from Martin Hanzal, Boedker brought the puck into the Panthers zone before attempting a drop pass to Hanzal. After that failed, Boedker regained the puck and ripped it past Vokoun for his second goal of the game.
Gretzky gave Boedker several attempts to finish off the hat trick, but he could not.
“I don’t know too many guys that would pass up an empty net for a hat trick,” Gretzky said. “I know I wouldn’t.”
Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle made his return to the lineup after sitting out the past four games as a healthy scratch and immediately contributed. Yandle recorded assists on Phoenix ‘s first two goals, and was happy to be back in the lineup after waiting patiently.
“I worked hard on my days off,” said Yandle, who has a goal and five assists this season. “I am a competitor and I want to play every night. I was eager to get back in the lineup.”
Yandle’s play impressed Gretzky.
“I thought Keith was really good,” Gretzky said. “I know he is extremely well-liked in the locker room by his teammates … it was nice to see him jump in and play well.”
The Coyotes return to Jobing.com Arena on Sunday when they take on the San Jose Sharks for the first time this season.
• Jokinen, who spent seven seasons with Florida, left as the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (188), assists (231), points (419) and game-winning goals (36). He also spent four seasons as team captain.
• After going 1-for-1 on the penalty kill against Florida on Saturday, the Coyotes have now gone four straight games without allowing a power-play goal (13-for-13).
• Coyotes defenseman Kurt Sauer played in his 300th career NHL game on Saturday night.
• This weekend, the Coyotes are playing home games on back-to-back days for the first time since Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, 2006 when they hosted the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks on consecutive days. Later this month, the Coyotes will play home games on Nov. 28 against Colorado and Nov. 29 against San Jose. This will be the first time the Coyotes will play two sets of back-to-back home games in the same month since Feb. 2004.