Coyotes 4, Jets 1
The new version of the Jets was no match for the team that used
to call Winnipeg home.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, nicknamed ”Harry” by his teammates
because – according to captain Shane Doan – ”he looks like Harry
Potter,” scored two goals and the Phoenix Coyotes won their home
opener by beating Winnipeg 4-1 on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Swedish defenseman, Phoenix’s top draft pick and
the sixth selection overall in 2009, has three goals in the team’s
first four games.
”My slap shot is not the best one but it went in,”
Ekman-Larsson said. ”I feel comfortable out there so it’s fun to
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, who faced only 19 shots, called
”I mean, the kid’s got all the skill in the world to be an
elite defenseman in this league,” Smith said.
The game featured the original Jets, who moved to Phoenix in
1996, against the new Jets, freshly transferred from Atlanta and
still looking for their first victory after three games.
”I’m not frustrated, I’m disappointed,” Winnipeg coach Claude
Noel said, ”and I’m not sure what we’re waiting for. It looks like
our team thinks we have a free pass to fail.”
Daymond Langkow got his first goal of the season 34 seconds in
as Phoenix scored twice and had three penalty kills in a dominant
first period. Ray Whitney had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes.
Smith made 18 saves and stopped Nik Antropov’s penalty shot.
Andrew Ladd scored for Winnipeg.
A noisy capacity crowd of 17,132 was in attendance as the
Coyotes began their third season under NHL ownership. Several
thousand were Winnipeg fans who didn’t find much to cheer
”Everybody always talks about we have games when there’s a lot
of visiting fans in there,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. ”But
what it does is really feed on the emotion of the building because
you get some visiting fans in there cheering that really puts a
burr in your fans’ butt. I thought our fans did a great job
tonight. Believe me, I had visions of hearing `Let’s go Jets’ a lot
more than we heard tonight.”
There had been much speculation after last season, when another
potential sale of the Coyotes fell through, that the franchise
could be headed back to Winnipeg. But the city of Glendale for the
second time guaranteed $25 million to cover losses, and the Atlanta
Thrashers headed to Canada instead.
Many in the boisterous crowd had barely taken their seats when
Langkow scored on an assist from Whitney.
The Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien lost the puck to Whitney, who skated
behind the Winnipeg net, then flipped the puck to Langkow.
Stationed in front, Langkow tapped the puck past goalie Chris
Phoenix made it 2-0 when Ekman-Larsson scored an unassisted goal
with 10:48 remaining in the first period. Several players were in a
scrum right in front of the Winnipeg net when the puck slipped out
to Mason’s right to Ekman-Larsson, who fired it sharply past the
Ekman-Larsson’s nasty slap shot from way outside made it 3-0
with 5:03 to go in the second. Winnipeg broke through when what
appeared to be a harmless shot by Ladd slipped between Smith’s legs
with 18.9 seconds left in the second.
The Coyotes made it 4-1 on Whitney’s power-play goal with 6:43
Langkow left the ice after taking a puck to the face just less
than 5 minutes into the game. He went to his knees for several
minutes before slowly skating away but returned late in the opening
With 10:50 to play, Antropov was awarded a penalty shot but his
attempt from the left side of the net was blocked by Smith.
Evander Kane ran over Smith behind the Phoenix net with 9:04 to
play, leading to a penalty that negated a Jets goal. Smith was slow
to get up, grabbing his left leg as he got back to his feet, but
stayed in the game.
NOTES: The Jets killed a 4-minute high-sticking penalty against
Ron Hainsey in the second period. … Winnipeg plays 10 of its
first 14 games on the road. … Doan still needs one goal to reach
300 for his career. … The Winnipeg-Atlanta franchise is 1-13-1
against the Coyotes, 0-8-1 in Arizona. … Phoenix plays five of
its next six at home, beginning Tuesday against Chicago. … The
Coyotes have won two in a row.