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Gretzky Press Conference
Gretzky Press Conference
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Coyotes closed the 2008-09 season the way they started it - with a victory at Jobing.com Arena.
Coyotes forward Steven Reinprecht notched two goals and two assists, and rookie Viktor Tikhonov scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to give the Coyotes a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks in front of 16,438 spectators on Fan Appreciation Night.
“It just gives us an extra boost for next year,” Tikhonov said of the victory. “It was great for the fans because we were playing for them.”
Tied at 2 after three rounds of the shootout, Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky was unsure which player to select as the next shooter. Reinprecht and captain Shane Doan already scored in the skills competition and Peter Mueller had missed on his try.
“I knew I was going to go with one of the younger guys,” Gretzky said. “(Mikkel) Boekder had been there and Marty Hanzal. (Tikhonov) was ready.”
“I was just looking at the goalie and I saw he didn’t come out as far as he usually does,” said Tikhonov, who scored eight goals in his first NHL season. “I just tried to keep it simple. It crossed the line at a really, really slow speed. It was kind of cool that number 41 (Tikhonov’s number) scored (the winning goal) in home game 41.”
As one of the team's three unrestricted free agents entering the offseason, Reinprecht wanted to finish off a strong season.
“It’s nice to have that going into the summer,” said Reinprecht, who notched his fourth career four-point game. “When you get in the lineup, you want to be ready and play your best.”
Early in the first period, Reinprecht scored his first goal since March 12 when he tapped a rebound past Hiller to give the Coyotes (36-39-7) a 1-0 lead.
Leading 2-1, Reinprecht scored his second goal on a similar play. After a Keith Yandle shot from the point, Reinprecht banged in a rebound at 12:21 for his second two-goal game of the season.
“It's always nice to score and it was a good play by (Yandle) getting a shot on net and it was just sitting there for me,” Reinprecht said.
Enver Lisin gave the Coyotes a 4-2 lead with 5.6 seconds left in the second period when he drove hard to the left post and wrapped the puck around Hiller.
Anaheim's Bobby Ryan and Temmu Selanne scored goals 45 seconds apart in the third period to tie the score and send the game to overtime. With one minute left in the extra session, Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made his best save of the night on Andrew Ebbett on a breakaway.
The Coyotes finished the season with five wins in their final seven games.
“It was important for us to come out and compete and play well,” Reinprecht said. “We played well in San Jose (on Thursday). We wanted to carry it over. We wanted to play well and try to get the win. We did. We stuck with it. It took a shootout, but it was a good ending.”
• Todd Fedoruk scored his sixth goal in the second period. It was his first goal in 18 games dating to Feb. 4 at Detroit.
• Before the game, Doan was named the team’s MVP for the 2008-09 season. Doan finished the season with a career-high 31 goals and with two assists on saturday tied former captain Keith Tkachuk for third overall on the franchise's all-time points list (623).
• The Coyotes scratched Nigel Dawes, Brandon Prust, Joakim Lindstrom, Dmitri Kalinin and Kyle Turris.
• Anaheim moved one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues for seventh place in the Western Conference. St. Louis plays on Sunday.
• Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek finished the season with 271 blocked shots, leading the league. Michalek, who averaged 3.3 blocked shots per game, blocked at least one shot in every game but one this season.
• The Coyotes went 6-1-1 in their last eight games at Jobing.com Arena and finished with a 23-15-3 record at home.