Jerry Brown | NHL.com
With his team's arena half-filled with transplant Canadians rooting on the new Winnipeg Jets, Head Coach Dave Tippett had even more reason to hope for a good start from his Coyotes in their home opener.
He not only got a good start – he got a good 60 minutes.
Second-year defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson
recorded the first two-goal game of his career and Daymond Langkow
got the night off to a good start with a goal 34 seconds after the opening faceoff as the old Jets manhandled the new version, 4-1, on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.
The 4 p.m. starting time didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the sold-out crowd, which appeared split between Coyote loyalists and transplanted Canadians sporting both new and old Jets sweaters. More than an hour before faceoff, fans who have developed an Internet rivalry amid rumors that the financially troubled Coyotes might return to Winnipeg were exchanging unpleasantries to add spice to an already-charged atmosphere.
Langkow, reacquired from Calgary in the off-season, scored on his first shift at home for Phoenix since 2004 (see KEY MOMENT
below), and the Coyotes (2-1-1) never trailed as the Jets (0-3-0) remained winless in their return to the NHL.
Ekman-Larsson was four years old when the first incarnation of the Jets left Winnipeg for Phoenix in 1996. But after managing one goal in 48 games as a rookie last season, he has three in the first four games of this season.
"It's always fun to score and I feel more comfortable out there," Ekman-Larsson said. "I only had one goal last year, but I'm playing more and I feel better and I'll try to keep it up."
closed out the scoring for Phoenix on a power play in the third period. Captain Shane Doan
, who played one season for the old Jets before the move to Phoenix, had two assists.
"We wanted to make sure we were good tonight," Doan said. "The whole connection we have with Winnipeg is special, and you want it to be a good memory and not a bad one. It was a great atmosphere all night and we played the kind of game we wanted to play."
Andrew Ladd scored in the final minute of the second period for the Jets, who have been outscored 13-5 in three regulation losses. Winnipeg is now 0 for 13 on the power play this season after failing on all four chances Saturday.
"I'm disappointed and I'm not sure what we're waiting for," Winnipeg Head Coach Claude Noel said. "It looks like our team thinks we have a free pass to fail. (The team's stats) reflects exactly the way we've played. We're better than that but we haven't proved that to ourselves."
Phoenix took a 2-0 lead midway through the first when Ekman-Larsson ran down a loose puck, flipped it to the net and through a crowd of players in the crease to beat Jets goalie Chris Mason. The score became 3-0 at 14:57 of the second when Boyd Gordon
took a Taylor Pyatt
feed on the rush and dropped a pass that the trailing Ekman-Larsson stepped into and rifled over Mason's glove and into the far top corner.
"His second goal was a heck of a shot," Tippett said. "He's not getting himself in trouble and his skill is really showing. I thought our young players were very good again tonight, and we need them to be good players for us to get better."
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com compiled this recap.
• The Coyotes upped their record to 11-3-1 in home openers since moving from Winnipeg to Phoenix in 1996.
• Goalie Mike Smith
stopped 18 shots - including a penalty shot by Winnipeg's Nik Antropov with 10:50 left to play - to record his first win with the Coyotes. He made several big saves amid sporadic work, including a point-blank chance by Ladd in the second period. In the thrid period, Jets forward Evander Kane collided with Smith behind the Phoenix net, leading to a penalty that negated a Jets goal. Smith was slow to get up, grabbing his left leg as he got back to his feet, but he stayed in the game. Smith has stopped 56 of 58 shots in the last seven periods he has played.
• Captain Shane Doan
had two assists vs. Winnipeg. Doan has notched at least one point in all four games the Coyotes have played this season and he has notched two points in three out of the four games.
• Center Martin Hanzal
took four shots on goal, delivered four hits and won 15 of 23 faceoffs.
• Center Boyd Gordon
and defenseman Adrian Aucoin
each blocked four shots. Aucoin was plus-3.
• Defenseman Michal Rozsival
, who is on the injured reserve list with an upper-body injury, skated onto the ice in full uniform during pre-game introductions.
• The Coyotes scratched Patrick O'Sullivan
and Chris Summers
• The Coyotes' next game is Tueday vs. Chicago at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).