GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mikkel Boedker is tired of picking on the poor Edmonton Oilers. He has expanded his grudge to include all Canadian teams.
Boedker became the first Coyote in franchise history to record hat tricks against the same opponent in the same season when he netted one in each period of a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday at Gila River Arena.
It was Boedker’s third career hat trick. His second came on Oct. 24 in Ottawa. The last NHL players to turn the double trick against the same opponent in the same season were Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (vs. Tampa Bay) and Anaheim’s Corey Perry (vs. Columbus) in 2011-12, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“Its tough to explain,” said Boedker, who has eight goals and 12 points against the Senators in eight career games. “When you’re feeling it, you’re feeling it and this was definitely one of those nights.”
The Coyotes needed Boedker’s mojo badly against the Senators, who had won four straight games. Ottawa outshot Arizona 18-4 in the first period. Somehow the Coyotes entered the first intermission tied, 1-1, thanks to Boedker’s goal from the high slot 38 seconds into the period, and backup goalie Anders Lindback’s brilliance.
“The way that game started in the first period it was ‘come on, Lindy!'” coach Dave Tippett quipped. “We just had to simplify some things and get our feet moving a little bit.”
Speaking of getting the feet moving, that has been a consistent message from the Coyotes coaches and leaders to Boedker ever since he came into the league. Former Coyote Ray Whitney used to tell Boedker: “Boeds, when you skate you’re great. When you don’t, you’re horse(expletive).”
Boedker has many assets at his disposal, but his greatest may be his speed.
“That’s one of those things that I just have to continue focusing on: that I’m moving my feet,” he said. “When I’m moving my feet I’m able to help the team out and when I’m not I’m just a bystander to things.”
Ever since he emerged from early-season struggles, brought on in part by a new role on the power play, Boedker has been one of the Coyotes’ most consistent players. He currently leads the team with nine goals and is third in points with 18.
“He’s developed into a real good player,” Tippett said. “The consistency is there and we rely on him in so many parts of our game right now. When he capitalizes, it enhances his value.”
Boedker capitalized on poor defensive coverage by Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson to stake the Coyotes to a 2-1 lead 41 seconds into the second period. He added a dagger goal with 5:31 left in the game that helped the Coyotes withstand a goal from Mark Stone and close out a perfect homestand with a 3-0 record as they get set for their last lengthy road trip of the season.
“We struggled a little bit at home early so it’s nice to get back above the .500 mark at home,” Tippett said. “Any wins, whether at home on the road, it builds confidence.”
Boedker had made a habit of torturing the Edmonton Oilers earlier in his career with eight goals lifetime against them. With free agency approaching and a maturing skill set, he has become a threat every night he takes the ice.
“I’m comfortable here at the rink, I’m comfortable with my teammates and I think that comfort level carries over to the games,” he said. “So far this season, it has been pretty good.”