GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Coyotes are becoming a dominant force at Jobing.com Arena, and Friday night was no exception.
Five different goal scorers contributed for Phoenix in a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders. The Coyotes have 13 home win this season, which is tied for second most in the Western Conference (13-5-2).
“It seems like we just have a better mind-set at home this season,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “Players are obviously much more comfortable at home and playing really strong in this building. The atmosphere is really solid. It’s enjoyable to come to the rink here.”
Rookie Viktor Tikhonov notched a pretty goal 1:46 into the game. Tikhonov made a nice deke to go around Islanders defenseman Freddy Meyer, then put a backhand past goaltender Rick DiPietro for his third goal of the season to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.
After New York's Sean Bergenheim knotted the score at 1 at 9:20 of the first period, the Coyotes scored a crucial goal 10 seconds before the first intermission.
While playing four-on-four and the Islanders having a delayed penalty, Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski fed defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who released a shot from the high-slot that beat DiPietro to give the Coyotes 2-1 lead.
“I’ve been working hard the whole year,” said Michalek, who leads the NHL in blocked shots with 135. “It's always good to get rewarded offensively, too. Lately, I have been getting some opportunities on the power play and trying to take advantage of it.”
It seems like we just have a better mind-set at home this season. Players are obviously much more comfortable at home and playing really strong in this building. The atmosphere is really solid. It’s enjoyable to come to the rink here.- Wayne Gretzky
Captain Shane Doan scored for the third time in the last five games. Doan put an off-angle shot from the bottom of the left circle past DiPietro short side, under the glove, to give the Coyotes a 3-1 lead.
The Coyotes continued the scoring when Olli Jokinen finished a Michalek blast from the blue line for his 13th goal of the season 3:10 into the third period.
New York responded 31 seconds later when Josh Bailey scored his first career NHL goal to cut into the Coyotes lead at 4-2.
Coyotes forward Joakim Lindstrom beat DiPietro five-hole on a breakaway for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
“I kind of picked the puck from the defenseman,” said Lindstrom, who has four goals and an assist in 12 games with the Coyotes. “I was trying to go five-hole and was successful getting it through there.”
New York's Richard Park scored two late cosmetic goals to bring the score to 5-4. Islanders forward Doug Weight assisted on Park’s first goal for his 1,000 NHL point.
“Any time you can get 1,000 points in this league it is a tremendous honor,” Gretzky said. “It is a lot of hard work and dedication and a lot of playing through injury and everything that goes with that. He’s been tremendous for our game and good for USA Hockey.”
Goaltender Mikael Tellqvist made 29 saves for the Coyotes, while DiPietro, playing for only the fourth time this season, made 28 saves for the Islanders. .
“At the end of the day, we got two points,” Gretzky said. “It was a nice win ... and now we will get ready for Sunday’s game. It was a good two points for us.”
The Coyotes travel to Anaheim on Saturday for a matchup on Sunday with the Ducks, who are tied with Phoenix with 43 points.
• Defenseman Keith Yandle and forward Daniel Carcillo were scratches for the Coyotes. Forward Jon Sim was scratched for the Islanders.
• Michalek played in his 300th career NHL game.
• Forward Steven Reinprecht notched his 200th career assist on Doan’s goal.
• The Coyotes are 11-6-1 when scoring the first goal of the game and 14-0-1 when leading after two periods this season.
• It was the Islanders first visit to Jobing.com Arena since Oct. 5, 2006, which was Opening Night of the 2006-07 season.
• The Coyotes have lost in regulation just twice in their past 12 games. Since Dec. 10, they are 7-2-3, gaining 17 of a possible 24 points in the standings.
• Phoenix committed just one minor penalty in the game.