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by Russell Brooks / Arizona Coyotes
Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky on Monday said backup goalie Mikael Tellqvist would get his first start of the season Thursday when Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals take on the Coyotes at Arena.

“I have been waiting for a while,” said Tellqvist, who had a 9-8-2 record with a .908 save percentage last season. “It's been a while since I have played a game, but I’m anxious to get the season going for myself, contribute to the team, play solid and help the team win a game.”

Gretzky is confident Tellqvist can help the team get a slump-ending victory.

“It seemed like last year, every sort of night when we needed a big win or big game, (Tellqvist) would go in and give us that,” Gretzky said. “We anticipate him giving us a big game on Thursday night.”


One of the big keys for the Coyotes on Thursday will be shutting down Ovechkin. The last time Ovechkin played at Arena, the Russian superstar scored his most famous goal.
“I don’t think there is one way you can prepare for him,” Gretzky said. “We are going to try and do a few things with one of them being match-ups.”

The players receiving the tough task of stopping Ovechkin are shut-down defensemen Kurt Sauer and Zbynek Michalek.

“We are going to have to try and keep him to the outside as best we can,” said Sauer, who has two assists this season. “As a (defenseman), you are jusy trying to take away time and space. When Ovechkin comes across the blue line, he can score from anywhere, so we have to be on him and just try to frustrate him a little bit.”


Forward Peter Mueller did not practice on Monday. He is expected to play on Thursday against Washington.

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