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by Russell Brooks / Arizona Coyotes
Backup goaltender Mikael Tellqvist is going to start Saturday's home game against the Calgary Flames after his superb 31-save effort in his season debut against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

“We just really feel that Tellqvist had a great performance,” Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said after Friday's practice. “He deserves an opportunity to go back (in net). He looked really solid last night and we’ll play him (Saturday).”

Mikael Tellqvist makes a glove save against the Dallas Stars last season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Tellqvist is pleased to get a second straight opportunity.
“It’s nice to get a chance to play again,” Tellqvist said. “I try to help this team win games and hopefully we will continue to have a good record (at home).”

After making 13 saves in the first period on Thursday, Tellqvist felt at ease in net.

“The first game is always a little bit nervous,” Tellqvist said. “You’re a little bit worried about how things are going to go. But, I got a pretty good start, got a few good shots in the beginning and got a feel for it, so that was nice.”


Viktor Tikhonov skates in a preseason game at Arena. (Photo by Norm Hall/Phoenix Coyotes.)
Rookie Viktor Tikhonov will return to the lineup on Saturday, according to Gretzky, after taking a check from Washington defenseman Matt Green on Thursday night that forced him out of the game in the first period.

“It was just an awkward hit,” Tikhonov said. “I went to play the shoulder, clipped his helmet, and got hit awkwardly. ...I feel alright, definitely good enough to play. I’m glad it’s nothing serious."


Throughout the week, the Coyotes have worked on cutting down turnovers in the neutral zone.

Gretzky witnessed improvement against the Capitals.

“We worked hard on it all week,” Gretzky said. “I was really happy with the way guys concentrated on it and reinforced it. We got patient when there was no openings, we took pucks back, regrouped, and went again. I was very pleased with how we accomplished that."

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