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Gretzky Press Conference
Gretzky Press Conference
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Coyotes continued their domination of the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night, although their latest victory took a little more time to earn than usual.
Forward Daniel Carcillo provided the decisive goal in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Coyotes a 4-3 victory in front of 15,341 at Jobing.com Arena. Atlanta forced overtime and the shootout by tying the score at 3 with 53 seconds left in the third period.
“It was disheartening that they tied it late in the game,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “We had a mental breakdown, but we got a big win in the shootout. 'Telly' (Mikael Tellqvist) made some key saves in the shootout and that was the big difference in the hockey game.”
Joakim Lindstrom, Viktor Tikhonov and Steven Goertzen scored goals in regulation for the Coyotes (26-28-5), who are 10-1-1 vs. Atlanta since the Thrashers joined the league in 1999-2000.
“Obviously, it is a confidence builder,” said Tellqvist, who made 19 saves in regulation/overtime and another seven in the shootout. “As the backup, you just want to get two points and that’s what I got tonight. It’s key.”
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Trailing 3-2 with less than a minute left in regulation, the Thrashers pulled goalie Kari Lehtonen for an extra attacker. After a flubbed clearing attempt by Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek, Atlanta completed a pretty tic-tac-toe play with sharpshooter Ilya Kovalchuk scoring his 30th goal to send the game to overtime.
The Coyotes outshot the Thrashers 6-2 in overtime, but none of the shots got past the goaltenders and it was on to the skills competition.
After Viktor Kozlov put a shot over Tellqvist's left shoulder in the second round, Gretzky turned to Shane Doan in the third round with the game on the line. The Coyotes captain put a snap shot past Lehtonen to extend the shootout.
With no scoring from the next nine shooters, the Coyotes turned to Carcillo in the eighth round. Carcillo didn’t disappoint after faking a shot and then going five-hole on Lehtonen for his first career shootout goal.
"I know a bunch of guys on their bench and they were laughing when I went out there," said Carcillo, who was scoreless in his four previous shootout attempts. "I was laughing too. It's a little bit of pressure but I just tried to have fun with it."
When asked by reporters, Gretzky didn’t know why he selected Carcillo.
“Honestly, I had a hunch,” Gretzky deadpanned. “I just kind of went down and he was right before I started going to the defense.”
Gretzky said anything less than earning two points in this game wasn’t acceptable.
“We are at a point now where we need two points every night,” Gretzky said. “You can sit back and say one point is good if you come from behind and tie it. When you get a chance to get two points, you need to seize it and get two points.”
Atlanta (21-33-5) got goals from Erik Christensen, his fifth, and Bryan Little, his 24th, to stay close.
• Phoenix's 40 shots on goal were a season-high. Lindstrom had a game-high six shots. The Thrashers registered 22 shots.
• The Coyotes scored a power-play goal for the fourth consecutive game and went 1 for 4 with the man advantage.
• The Coyotes are 6-0-1 on home ice against the Thrashers dating to their expansion season.
• Lindstrom and Doan extended their point streaks to three games each.
• Defenseman David Hale and forward Enver Lisin were healthy scratches for the Coyotes. The Thrashers scratched left wing Eric Boulton and defenseman Boris Valabik.
• The Coyotes are 18-1-1 when leading after two periods.
• Atlanta has scored 17 goals, in regulation, in its past three games.
• Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle played in his 100th NHL game.