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Coyotes keep Islanders sliding on road

GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Despite a fair amount of

positives, the New York Islanders still were unable to end their

lengthy road losing streak.

Defenseman Zbynek Michalek recorded a goal and an assist in his

300th career game as the Phoenix Coyotes posted a 5-4 victory

over the Islanders on Friday.

Rookie Viktor Tikhonov, captain Shane Doan, Olli Jokinen and

Joakim Lindstrom also scored for the Coyotes, who have won three

of four overall and four of five at home.

"It was a good two points for us," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky

said. "It seems like we have a much better mind set at home

this season. The players are obviously much more comfortable at

home. We're playing really strong in this building and the

atmosphere is really solid."

Richard Park netted a pair of goals and set up another, Josh

Bailey scored his first NHL tally and Doug Weight eclipsed the

1,000-point mark with a pair of assists for New York, which has

lost 11 straight road games (0-10-1).

"I think the highlight of the night for me was Doug Weight

getting his 1,000th point," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.

"We're all happy for him. I'm sure he's pretty excited and

relieved it was over with. I know he thought it was inevitable

that it was going to come. It's a select crowd that gets into

that category, and it's well-deserved."

After missing three straight games and 30 of the previous 31 due

to injury, franchise goaltender Rick DiPietro returned to the

crease for the Islanders, who have not won away from home since

posting a 4-3 shootout triumph at Montreal on November 24.

"It felt good. It was good to get back into the game and get

some live action," said DiPietro, whose latest ailment was a

strained groin. "We've done everything over the last couple of

days to make sure it wouldn't be a problem, and it worked out.

It was nice that I didn't hurt anything and finished the game.

Besides losing, I feel good physically."

But even his return was not enough to end the team's skid.

Tikhonov opened the scoring just 1:46 into the contest by

beating DiPietro with a backhander from the low slot. Sean

Bergenheim drew New York even at 9:20 with his seventh goal of

the season, but Michalek beat DiPietro to the stick side with a

slap shot from above the slot with 10 seconds left in the first

period to put Phoenix ahead for good.

"I've been working hard the whole year," said Michalek, who

leads the league with 135 blocked shots. "It's always good to

get rewarded offensively, too. ... Anytime you score in the last

minute of any period, it's a big momentum change for your team.

It was a big momentum-changer for us."

Doan made it 3-1 with 4:55 remaining in the middle session with

a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle. Former

Islander Steven Reinprecht notched his 200th career assist on

the play.

Jokinen increased the lead to three goals at 3:10 of the third,

burying a rebound while alone in front after DiPietro stopped

Michalek's blast from the right point.

Playing in his 25th game after being drafted ninth overall last

June, Bailey halved the deficit by converting captain Bill

Guerin's backhand pass from behind the net just 31 seconds

later.

"I can't even explain it," Bailey said. "It felt really good.

Obviously, it was wearing on me quite a bit for the last while

now. Hopefully, the floodgates will open now and I'll get a lot

more confidence. ... It's more of a relief than anything."

"Josh probably could have had a hat trick tonight with some of

the chances he had in the slot," Gordon said. "It was a long

time coming and probably should have had it earlier, but he

earned it."

But Lindstrom restored the Coyotes' three-goal bulge with his

fourth tally of the season with 6:27 remaining, stealing the

puck from Islanders defenseman Mark Streit and scoring on a

breakaway.

"I kind of picked the puck from the defenseman," Lindstrom said.

"I was trying to go five-hole and was successful getting it

through there."

Park made things interesting by scoring twice in a span of 2

minutes, 38 seconds.

"When you're up 5-2, you don't expect it to end up like that,"

Doan said. "Obviously, we've got to be better than that, but it

was a big win."

Weight helped set up both of Park's goals, with the first assist

accounting for his 1,000th career point.

"It felt good," Weight said. "I think it would have been better

if we'd been able to creep back into a tie there. I couldn't

really move all game, felt a little nervous, had 25-30 people

here. It's exciting. It's a proud day, proud for my family.

It's something I'll be proud of and remember for the rest of my

life."

Park, retrieved the puck and gave it to his teammate, was just

as excited as Weight.

"To be part of it, not only as a teammate but to get in on that

accomplishment, is something I'll always remember," Park said.

"It's a great honor to play with Doug and to call him a

teammate.

"Things like that don't happen too much in this game. I think

that speaks volumes about Doug as a hockey player, and the

dedication and sacrifice he's endured to get to that point."

The 37-year-old veteran became the 73rd player - and eighth born

in the United States - in NHL history to reach the plateau.

Despite accomplishing the feat on the road, Weight received a

nice ovation from the crowd at Jobing.com Arena.

"It was unbelievable for the team to stand up and give me a

hand, and the crowd," he said. "Being an American, it's nice to

do it on this soil. It was a very nice hand I got, and I

appreciate it."

Weight also drew praise from the NHL's all-time scoring leader.

"Anytime you can get 1,000 points in this league, it's a

tremendous honor," Gretzky said. "It's 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."

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