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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

season.

"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

chances."

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.

"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."

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