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Coyotes open 10th season in the desert with 6-3 victory over Islanders

"Maybe next time I'll go for six or seven stitches," Reinprecht, who had a goal and four assists, said after the Coyotes opened their 10th season in the desert with a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. Reinprecht required the stitches above his lip after being hit by a stick. Ladislav Nagy had two goals and Shane Doan, Joel Perrault and Derek Morris also scored for Phoenix, which tied a club record for goals on opening night.

The Nagy-Doan-Reinprecht line had four goals and seven assists.

Viktor Kozlov scored twice for New York, which committed 13 penalties.

The Coyotes spotted the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 1:45 of the first period on Miroslav Satan's shot from the top of the right circle. Then the Coyotes blitzed the Islanders with six straight goals - two by Nagy - to coast to the victory.

It was a rousing start for the Coyotes, who are seeking their first playoff appearance since 2002. Coach Wayne Gretzky was pleased with the result but cautious about reading too much into one game.

"Listen, we've got 81 more games to go," Gretzky said. "We've got a long ride ahead of us.

"We needed this tonight," he said. "We needed a little bit of a breath of fresh air around here, some positive ions. Maybe the black cloud will start lifting around here and this will be a step in the right direction."

Indeed, the Coyotes enjoyed some good fortune, with both of Nagy's goals deflecting off Islanders.

After New York's Tom Poti was sent off for tripping, Phoenix tied it at 1-1 on Nagy's power-play goal at 5:25 of the first period. Nagy was originally credited with an assist after he slipped the puck to Reinprecht in the crease, but the official scorer gave Nagy the goal when video replays revealed that the puck had hit a defenceman's skate.

"It was a little bit lucky, but it's in," Nagy said.

It was Nagy's first goal since Jan. 14. He missed the final 29 games of last season with a knee injury.

The Coyotes made it 2-1 on Morris' slap shot from the left circle at 9:35 of the first.

Phoenix put the game away with three goals in a 2:19 span of the second period.

Nagy's second goal came at 7:34 after he slipped behind the defence and took a pass from Doan. Nagy lost control of the puck, but it bounced in off the skate of Islanders defenceman Brendan Witt.

"Hey, you throw the puck to the net, good things are going to happen," Doan said.

At 9:02 Doan took a nifty backhand pass from Reinprecht in the crease and beat Rick DiPietro to his glove side to put Phoenix ahead 4-1.

Fifty-one seconds later, Perrault scored on a breakaway.

Reinprectht gave Phoenix a 6-1 lead when he redirected Ed Jovanovski's blast from the blue line on a power play at 12:11 of the second period.

DiPietro allowed six goals in 32 shots before being replaced by Mike Dunham.

"We had some bad breaks," DiPietro said. "Things kind of went down south for us."

The Islanders' second goal came when Kozlov scored on a rebound of a shot by Witt at 3:04 of the third period. Kozlov scored again at 6:07 to cut the deficit to 6-3.

"I thought we played hard in the third period and battled back, which is a good sign," DiPietro said. "The big thing for us will be resiliency, and how we bounce back."

Phoenix goalie Curtis Joseph had 26 saves and earned his 429th career victory. That leaves him eight shy of Hall of Famer Jacques Plante, who ranks fifth in NHL history.

Notes: The Islanders opened on the road for the 30th time in 34 years. After stops in San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim, the Islanders open at home against Boston on Oct. 14. ... The victory evened Gretzky's career record at 39-39-5.



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