Mueller scores twice as Coyotes beat Avalanche

GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) — The latter part of 2008 did not
treat Peter Mueller well. However, it appears he has snapped
out of a dismal scoring funk on the eve of a new year.

The 20-year-old Mueller scored two goals and Mikael Tellqvist
made 28 saves as the Phoenix Coyotes skated to a 3-1 victory
over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

Olli Jokinen also tallied and captain Shane Doan had two assists
for the Coyotes, who have earned at least a point in nine of
their last 11 games. They are currently in a stretch of playing
six of seven contests at home, where they are 12-5-2 this

“Peter (Mueller) has played really hard and he’s starting to get
rewarded,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said.

“I said the other night when he scored his goal that he had
played some really good games and couldn’t find the net.
Obviously he’s been a little bit frustrated but his work and his
effort is really solid. He’s got too much skill not to get

T.J. Hensick scored his second goal of the season and Peter
Budaj turned aside 26 shots, but the Avalanche saw their
three-game losing streak come to an end.

“I don’t think we played the whole 60 minutes,” Budaj said. “We
played a very good third period. I think we outplayed them, but
they were already up, 2-1.”

Mueller, who has three goals in his last three contests, ended a
22-game goalless streak in a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings
on Friday. In this one, he ended an abundance of momentum the
Avalanche had accumulated while dealing with the injuries of
captain Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny.

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“As soon as you get one they come in bunches,” Mueller said.
“You know, you’re not going into every game thinking this is
going to be the game. You go in with a little more confidence
knowing you can do it.

“So I just am going to put (the slump) behind me and hope it
never happens again.”

The eighth overall pick by Phoenix in 2006, Mueller tallied
twice in a 2:05 span midway through the second period, handing
the Coyotes a lead they would not relinquish.

“You get one and all of a sudden the flood gates can open,” Doan
said. “He’s probably the purest goal scorer we have on this
team. For him to get hot, he can carry us a long ways with how
well he shoots the puck and how well he generates offense.”

Mueller made it 2-1 by firing a wrist shot from the bottom of
the left faceoff circle past Budaj.

“It was kind of a freaky goal, actually,” Mueller said. “I
thought he covered it but then the puck kept on getting loose
and I kind of walked out. I saw he was still down so I just
tried to put a shot up high.”

Jokinen punctuated Mueller’s stellar effort with a wrister from
the left circle with 6:41 to go in the third.

Hensick opened the scoring 8:12 into the first, converting
passes from defenseman Brett Clark and rookie Chris Stewart.

“I had a lot of work in the last period and it was nice to kind
of shut them down,” Tellqvist said. “After the first period it
probably should have been up 1-0 instead of being down. They
got a lucky bounce and they scored on it.”