GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) — Mikkel Boedker scored twice and
Olli Jokinen added a goal and an assist as the Phoenix Coyotes
skated past the Florida Panthers, 4-1, on Saturday.
Peter Mueller also tallied and defenseman Keith Yandle recorded
two assists for the Coyotes, who bounced back from a 1-0 loss to
the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday by netting four unanswered
goals over the final 40 minutes of this one.
“I thought we played our last four games really solid even
though we lost a tough one to Minnesota,” Phoenix coach Wayne
Gretzky said, referring to his team’s 3-2 loss to the Wild on
November 1. “Tonight after the first period, we really started
attacking in the second period, and that was the difference in
the hockey game.
“It turned things around for us. (Boedker) scored a nice goal,
a battle goal, and that gave us a jump-start.”
The Panthers’ former captain, Jokinen helped extend their
winless streak to six games (0-5-1). Florida dealt Jokinen, its
top scorer every season since 2002-03, to Phoenix in June after
the Finn became the franchise’s all-time points leader with 419.
“I think it was more emotional for my family,” Jokinen said.
“When you are playing, you don’t think of it. You don’t think
that you are playing against your (old team). At first, I
didn’t really know how to react. But after that, I started
Jokinen was more concerned about getting the victory than
scoring a goal.
“It is always nice to score, but at the end of the day, you want
your team to win,” Jokinen said. “If you can help your team to
win that way, it is good.”
Richard Zednik tallied in the first period for the Panthers, who
were outshot, 39-27, overall and by a 12-5 margin in the third.
“We were better, but still not good enough,” Florida coach Peter
DeBoer said. “Better doesn’t matter in the standings. We have
not handled adversity. It’s been a problem for the first 12, 13
or 14 games. As soon as we face some adversity, we start trying
too much. We start taking penalties, we’re getting beat on
1-on-1s – not the way a team handles adversity.”
A 10-year veteran, Jokinen came to the desert knowing he would
be surrounded by a plethora of budding talent. Taken eighth
overall in 2006 and 2008, respectively, Mueller and Boedker make
up the core of the youngest team in the NHL, and they showed why
in this one.
Mueller started Phoenix’s uprising, tying the game at 1-1 with
9:19 left in the second. Jokinen took possession of his own
rebound in front of the net and made a backhand pass to Mueller,
who slipped the puck past goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
“It was more of a priority getting traffic and people in front
of the net, and getting shots at the net instead of relying on
tic-tac-toe plays and getting rebounds,” Gretzky said.
Boedker gave the Coyotes the lead for good seven minutes later.
After Yandle’s initial attempt from the point deflected off the
skate of Daniel Winnik, Boedker gained possession in traffic on
the doorstep and netted his fourth of the season.
“He is a young man,” Gretzky said. “He is only 18. He is going
to get better every day. He is a hard guy to check because he
has such tremendous speed and has power to go with it.”
Jokinen scored his fifth tally at 5:39 of the third, and Boedker
struck again with three minutes remaining, firing a wrist shot
from the slot past Vokoun.
Still, Jokinen felt the second period was the most crucial part
of the contest.
“The second period, we took the game over and started playing
the way we can play,” Jokinen said. “In the intermission, Wayne
wasn’t happy. He told us we had to shoot more and go to the net
a little more.”
Ilya Bryzgalov turned aside 26 shots, including 14 in the second
“We didn’t play hard enough,” Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard
said. “At times we do that, but at times we make dumb plays.
You make your own luck, but we didn’t play hard enough, we
didn’t play well enough.”