GLENDALE, Ariz. - Another superb effort from Coyotes backup goaltender Mikael Tellqvist keyed a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Friday afternoon in front of 14,031 fans at Jobing.com Arena.
Tellqvist made 37 saves in his second straight victory, while Kevin Porter and Derek Morris scored for the Coyotes, who returned to .500 (10-10-2) on the season.
“Tellqvist really made some key saves and it's two outstanding games in a row for him,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “(He was) definitely the difference in both wins and the last two games.”
Leading 2-1 in the third period, Tellqvist came up with a crucial save with under eight minutes left. Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth split Phoenix's defense, broke in on Tellqvist, then attempted a deke while putting the puck back the other direction. Tellqvist had none of it.
“I thought he was going to go back and forth and throw it five-hole,” said Tellqvist, who has a 3-1-1 record. “I was going for the poke check, but he made a ‘Peter Forsberg' move on me and almost got me too.”
Wearing their new third jerseys, the Coyotes came out with a bang.
Returning to the lineup for the first time since being injured against the Carolina Hurricanes, defenseman Derek Morris made his presence known early. With only one goal coming into the matchup, Morris doubled his total 3:33 into the first period.
Morris fired a shot from the side boards that surprised Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj and gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead. Daniel Carcillo and Enver Lisin recorded the assists.
“It was a big goal he got tonight,” Gretzky said. “We need him to be healthy. He’s a key part of our team. He’s a big horse out there.”
The Coyotes were without center Olli Jokinen for the first time this season. In his absence, rookie Kevin Porter stepped into the middle and had no issues.
“With Jokinen hurt, there is a hole (at center),” Gretzky said. “I thought Kevin did a nice job the other night in Columbus and I thought he was good again tonight. He had a big goal.”
After a failure to clear the defensive zone by the Avalanche, Porter poked a backhand past Budaj in a goal-mouth scramble to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead at 4:49 of the second period.
“(Keith) Yandle and Enver (Lisin) made great plays,” said Porter, who has five goals and four assists. “The rebound was laying there and I just started whacking at it … I was in the right place at the right time.”
Leading 2-0 going into the third period, the Coyotes knew the Avalanche were going to come at them hard.
Tellqvist really made some key saves and it's two outstanding games in a row for him.- Wayne Gretzky
Smyth cut into the Coyotes' lead 4:07 into the third period. Avalanche forward Ian Laperriere threw a shot at the net that deflected off Smyth, bounced off the ice and into the net for his seventh goal to make the score 2-1.
From there, it was all about Tellqvist, who makde 14 saves in the third period and preserved the win.
“We got caught a little on their first goal to make it 2-1,” Gretzky said. “…I give our guys credit, they battled and after that there wasn’t more than one or two scoring chances.”
• When the Coyotes host San Jose on Saturday, they will have played two sets of back-to-back home games in the same month for the first time since February of 2004. Earlier this month, the Coyotes beat Florida 4-1 on Nov. 8 before downing the Sharks 4-2 the following night.
• Jokinen’s streak of consecutive games played ended at 397 on Friday. It was the second-longest active streak behind Andrew Brunette – 473. Jokinen has missed just seven games in the past eight seasons and none in the past four seasons until Friday.
• Colorado center Joe Sakic left the game after playing one shift because of an undisclosed injury and did not return.
• The Coyotes are 4-0-1 in their past five games against Colorado.
• Colorado forward Milan Hejduk lead all players with six shots on goal.
• Colorado won 35 of 51 face-offs.
• Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek blocked five more shots to bring his NHL-leading total to 73.
• When leading after two periods this season, the Coyotes have an 8-0-1 record.