GLENDALE, Ariz. - Behind third-period goals by forwards Mikkel Boedker and Peter Mueller, the Coyotes rallied Thursday night and ended their three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals at Jobing.com Arena.
Backup goaltender Mikael Tellqvist, making his first start of the season, was superb, stopping 31 of 32 shots in front of 14,722 fans.
“We’ve got a young team here and we are going to play tons of these games that are one-goal games,” Tellqvist said. “It’s good to win a game like this.”
Head Coach Wayne Gretzky played Tellqvist, a favorite in the locker room, because he felt the team needed a spark after a 1-3-0 trip that ended with a humbling 4-1 loss in Montreal.
“On the flight home from Montreal Saturday, I decided we needed a spark,” Gretzky said of his decision to play Tellqvist over starter Ilya Bryzgalov against the Capitals. “We needed some new energy.”
Tellqvist provided it early and maintained it through 60 minutes. Brooks Laich's power-play goal in the second period on a four-on-two rush was Tellqvist’s only blemish.
The Coyotes had 26 shots but zero goals after two periods thanks to Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore.
That changed quickly in the third period.
Two-and-a-half minutes in, Coyotes forward Olli Jokinen picked off a clearing pass by Washington defenseman Blake Sloan, then fed a pass to a Boedker, who slid the puck past Theodore to tie the score at 1.
The goal was Boedker’s third goal of the season but his first goal with his parents, who flew in from Denmark, watching him play an NHL game in person.
Mueller scored the game-winning goal at 6:32 of the third period. Martin Hanzal brought the puck up the ice in a controlled breakout, skated into the Washington zone and found Mueller, who beat Theodore with a back-door slap shot.
From there, Tellqvist continued his strong play, making several crucial saves down the stretch to preserve the victory.
Coyotes defensemen did a solid job keeping Alex Ovechkin off the score sheet. The reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner had seven shots, but no goals or assists.
The Coyotes had several great scoring chances in the first two periods. Theodore stoned Shane Doan on a breakaway with the leg pad that led to Phoenix’s first power play of the game. On that power play, Theodore robbed defenseman Ed Jovanovski from in close.
The Coyotes played most of the game without rookie forward Viktor Tikhonov, who left in the first period because of a shoulder injury. Tikhonov told phoenixcoyotes.com after the game that his injury is not serious and he could return as soon as Saturday vs. Calgary.