December 12, 2008
I am taking a break from studying.
Okay, I haven't started yet, so maybe this can be classified as a continuation of my procrastination—a student's best friend.
Last week NHL.com had an article about how the Coyotes sophomores, specifically Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzal, were struggling.
The color commentator for the Coyotes, Darren Pang, apparently read it, and was none too pleased about the content of the article. You can read his take on the Coyotes website.
But more important is the Coyotes game last night.
If anyone has been following this team, they know the Minnesota Wild have been kryptonite for Phoenix. Going into the game last night, the last time the Coyotes had defeated the Wild was on November 16, 2006.
Niklas Backstrom has been an absolute fiend in net coming into this contest, going 8-0 with three shutouts and a 1.13 goals-against average against the Coyotes throughout his career.
However, all streaks come to an end. Backstrom let in three goals last night—including two in the final 30 seconds of the second period.
The first came from Zbynek Michalek, who continued his unbelievable play as he ripped a shot from the point.
Then, just 25 seconds later, rookie Mikkel Boedker stole the puck, and Peter Mueller came down the wing with Olli Jokinen on the other side. He made a beautiful pass across the slot and over the stick of a Wild defenseman to Jokinen, who put it by Backstrom. Just like that, it was 2-0.
The third period saw the newest addition to the Coyotes make an impact. Joakim Lindstrom was acquired earlier this week from the Anaheim Ducks for young defenseman Logan Stephenson. He scored his first goal, as he redirected a beautiful pass from Steve Reinprecht into the net.
While it was disallowed at first, review showed the puck had hit the white bar inside the net and bounced out.
Jokinen has continued his hot streak since coming back from injury. He now has three goals in two games. Steven Reinprecht is also on a hot streak, as he now has six points in his last five games.
Ilya Bryzgalov had his best game of the season, stopping 30 of 31 Wild shots. The Coyotes will need him to continue his stellar play if they want to succeed.
Was this game the turning point of the season? Quite possibly. The Coyotes had not beaten the Wild in over two years.
Maybe this is how the Coyotes start moving up.
They will face a stiff test on Saturday, when the Detroit Red Wings come to Phoenix.
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