NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at Phoenix
(Thursday, October 5th)
Final Score: Phoenix 6, NY Islanders 3
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Steve Reinprecht had a goal and four assists to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders in the season opener for both clubs at Glendale Arena.
Ladislav Nagy had two goals and an assist and Shane Doan finished with a goal and two assists for the Coyotes, who improved to 12-11-4 in season openers.
Curtis Joseph stopped 26 shots for Phoenix, which is 10-5-2 in season openers played at home.
Coach Wayne Gretzky is behind the bench for his second season as coach of the Coyotes. Last year was a tough one for "The Great One" as he had to deal with the early-season retirement of Brett Hull, the Rick Tocchet fiasco and the deaths of his mother and grandmother. Also, his club finished 12th in the Western Conference with 81 points, and were never a factor in the playoff race.
The team made several off-season moves, the biggest of which was the signing of defenseman Ed Jovanovski to provide a bona fide anchor presence. The moves continued with Jeremy Roenick, Georges Laraque and Owen Nolan entering the fold, and general manager Michael Barnett traded Paul Mara to Boston for defenseman Nick Boynton.
Viktor Kozlov had two goals and Rick DiPietro was shelled for six goals on 32 shots for the Islanders, who fell to 8-18-8 in their season openers.
New York is coming off a bizarre summer. After bringing in a solid crop of free agents that included Brendan Witt, Mike Sillinger, Tom Poti and Chris Simon, the club's front office became a laughing stock. Just about a month after he was hired as the general manager, Neil Smith abruptly vacated the position due to differences with owner Charles Wang. The comedy continued when backup goaltender Garth Snow retired and took over as the GM.
And the strange happenings continued in early September when Wang inked DiPietro to a 15-year contract that will pay him $4.5 million per season. DiPietro's new deal is the longest in NHL history, as it surpassed the 10-year pact inked by Islanders center Alexei Yashin in 2001.
The Islanders took the early lead as Trent Hunter sent a slow pass from the left point to the low right circle where Miroslav Satan one-timed it over the glove of Joseph for a 1-0 lead just 1:45 into the contest.
The Coyotes, however, notched the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
While on the power play, Nagy had the puck along the right boards and flicked a pass to the low slot. The disc went off the skate of New York defenseman Sean Hill and past DiPietro 5:25 into the first for a power-play score.
Phoenix grabbed the lead when Doan grabbed the puck at the left side of the net, skated into the high slot and left the puck at the top of the left circle for Derek Morris. Morris grabbed the puck on the fly and snapped a wrist shot from the left circle into the left corner of the net less than halfway through the first 20 minutes.
The Coyotes completely dominated the second period and took a 6-1 lead heading into the third period.
Nagy scored his second goal of the contest when he had the puck down low and went from his backhand to his forehand. He lost the puck, but it deflected off the skate of an Islander defenseman for a 3-1 lead 7:34 into the second.
A little over a minute later, Reinprecht hit Doan with a breakout pass. Doan took the disc into the Islanders zone on a breakaway and buried the puck between the pads of DiPietro.
Joel Perrault's one-time shot beat DiPietro 51 seconds later for a 5-1 lead.
On the power play, Jovanovski cranked a slap shot from the right point that Reinprecht redirected by DiPietro with 7:49 left in the second.
Kozlov scored off of a rebound a little over three minutes into the third period to make it a 6-2 game.
Kozlov notched a power-play goal with 6:07 to play for the final goal of the contest.
The Coyotes will host Anaheim on Saturday...The Islanders travel to San Jose for a contest on Saturday...This is the first time New York and Phoenix have met since February 13, 2004, and the Coyotes are 7-1-3 in the last 11 meetings...Mike Dunham played in net for the Islanders in the third period and stopped all 12 shots he faced.
10/06 01:00:25 ET