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Coyotes explode in second, cruise past Islanders

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. - With leading goal-scorer Shane Doan out of the lineup for a third straight game, the Phoenix Coyotes are counting on others to step up and pick up the slack offensively.

There was no shortage of suitors Thursday.

Mikkel Boedker and Rob Klinkhammer scored twice and Mike Ribeiro added a goal and two assists, fueling a four-goal second period that carried the Coyotes past the New York Islanders 6-3.

The loss was the Islanders' 11th in 12 games and fourth on a five-game trip against five of the top seven teams in the Western Conference.

Klinkhammer, Boedker and Ribeiro broke open a 1-1 game with goals in a 3:41 span early in the second period and the Coyotes avenged a 6-1 loss on Long Island on Oct. 8 with a six-goal night of their own.

Boedker scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season - and his first two at Arena - and Klinkhammer had a career-high three points as the Coyotes improved to 3-1-1 in the past five games after their first tailspin of the season. They did it with veterans like Doan, Lauri Korpikoski and Derek Morris out of the lineup.

"We're doing it together, everyone is chipping in," said Ribeiro, who has two three-point nights in the past five game and leads the team with 26 points. "It's hard for other teams to match up with us because so many guys are capable of contributing."

John Tavares and Kyle Okposo pulled the Islanders within 4-3 with goals 1:23 apart midway through the second. But Boedker closed the six-goal period with a hard wrist shot over Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin's shoulder and just under the crossbar to derail any New York comeback hopes.

"It was the worst hockey game I've seen our defense play," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "Four goals are a direct result. Turnovers, not being able to execute on breakouts, discipline with decision-making, protecting the walls ... you're giving up 2-on-2's, 2-on-1's and it's in the back of the net."

The Islanders have allowed an NHL-worst 116 goals in 33 games. New York also lost center Casey Cizikas, who took a stick to the jaw during a first-period collision and did not return.

"We got three goals tonight and that's a good thing. We haven't scored three goals in a long time," Poulin said. "But on the other end it's not only offense. We have to be good in all three zones. When you allow six goals, it's always a rough night."

Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, returning from a bout with the flu, held off New York from there with 21 saves including a big one on a power-play bid by Michael Grabner early in the third period. Poulin made 31 saves and lost for the seventh time in his past eight starts.

The Coyotes unleashed 17 first-period shots but still fell behind early. After Poulin made nice close-in stop on Radim Vrbata and two on Ribeiro, Eric Boulton got his stick on an Andrew MacDonald shot from the point and deflected it past Smith at 13:06 for his second goal of the season.

The lead didn't last long. Thomas Vanek was sent to the penalty box for slashing 19 seconds after Boulton's goal and the Coyotes cashed in against the NHL's worst penalty-killing unit.

Poulin robbed Ribeiro again on a point-blank rebound before Yandle carried an Oliver Ekman-Larsson pass to the high slot and used Martin Hanzal as a screen to beat Poulin with a low wrist shot at 14:34. Yandle's fourth goal was the 22nd by a Phoenix defenseman this season.

"We had two or three great chances in the first period and we didn't score on them," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "It would have been easy to say 'Ah jeez, I can't believe we don't have a lead.' But our guys stuck with it and that's a sign we're doing things right. No one got down.

"The feeling was 'Let's go get more chances, and see how it goes.' It's amazing how sometimes that works out if you put in the work."

The Coyotes worked over New York early in the second. It started at 2:34 when Klinkhammer banked a return pass from Ribeiro off New York defenseman Aaron Ness. Phoenix stuck again 1:57 later, when Boedker found a loose puck sitting near the post and stuffed it home. And 1:43 later, Ribeiro finally got one past Poulin on a behind-the-net centering feed from Klinkhammer to give Phoenix a 4-1 lead.

"After getting me twice I wasn't going to let him stop me a third time," Ribeiro said.

The Islanders made things closer quickly. Tavares worked a give-and-go with Vanek and put a shot off a defenseman and past Smith at 11:42 for his team-leading 13th goal. At 13:05, Brian Strait gobbled up a David Moss turnover and put a shot on net that Okposo was able to deflect into the net as he was being taken down by Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone to cut the deficit lead to one goal.

But Boedker ended the wild second period with his takeaway in the neutral zone and goal off a Ribeiro feed for the fourth two-goal game of his career.

"I like to score on the road but it's nice to hear your own crowd cheer for you once in a while too," Boedker said. "That second goal took the wind out of them a little and that was good for us."

Klinkhammer capped the scoring and notched his second two-goal game of the season, scoring unassisted with 5:47 left to play on a 2-on-1 break.

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