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Minnesota Wild vs. Phoenix Coyotes @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Minnesota Wild (1-0-0-0) at Phoenix Coyotes (0-2-0-0).

TIME: Saturday, 10:00 p.m. EDT.

Wayne Gretzky was the greatest player ever to lace up a pair of skates in the NHL. That success has not translated well behind the bench so far.

Still searching for his first career win, Gretzky again leads the Phoenix Coyotes in their home opener at Glendale Arena against the Minnesota Wild.

After a 3-2 loss to Wednesday in Vancouver, the Coyotes fell Thursday night to Los Angeles by the same score.

Although Gretzky may be considered one of the most knowledgeable players the league has ever seen, he has been showing his inexperience as a rookie coach.

On Thursday Gretzky mixed up Phoenix's lineup at the start of the game. He had right wing Fredrik Sjostrom on the ice, despite being listed as a scratch. Center Petr Nedved was the intended scratch, but listed as being available.

The Kings' stat crew noticed Sjostrom and alerted referees, who declared him ineligible for the rest of the game.

Off to an 0-2 start, Gretzky is already recognizing the difference in losing as a player and now as a coach.

"When you're coaching, you think about it all night," he said. "It drags on with you a little bit longer, but that's OK, I love it."

Minnesota got off to a hot start with a 6-3 home win Wednesday over defending Western Conference champion Calgary.

Marc Chouinard recorded the season's first hat trick and believes the Wild can take advantage of the league's new rules to infuse more offense into the game.

"It's going to be up in the air pretty much every night," Chouinard said.

Todd White added a goal and two assists and Pierre Marc-Bouchard had three assists.

Although goalie Manny Fernandez didn't suit up Wednesday because of muscle spasms in his neck and upper back, Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said he should be ready for this contest.

The Wild went 1-2-1 against the Coyotes in the 2003-04 season.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 7): Wild - 2 points, Tied for 1st place, Northwest Division. Coyotes - 0 points, 5th place, 2 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Chouinard, 3 goals; Bouchard, 3 assists; White, Chouinard and Bouchard 3 points; Nine players with 2 PIM. Coyotes - Oleg Saprykin, 2 goals and three points; Four players with, 1 assist; Mike Leclerc, 17 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 7): Wild - Power play: 66.7 percent (2 for 3), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (7 for 8), Tied for 14th. Coyotes - Power play: 33.3 percent (3 for 9), 3rd. Penalty killing: 75.0 percent (6 for 8), Tied for 24th.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Dwayne Roloson (1-0-0, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA); Fernandez (0-0-0, 0, 0.00). Coyotes - Curtis Joseph (0-1-0, 0, 3.05); David Leneveu (0-1-0, 0, 3.10).

SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 22; Coyotes, 3-2 in overtime. At St. Paul, Minn., Mike Comrie scored a goal in overtime to give the Coyotes the road victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 0-0-0-0 on the road; Coyotes - 0-0-0-0 at home.

Associated Press
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