Stop me if you’ve heard this before: with an opportunity to win late in the contest, the puck took an unfortunate bounce against the Coyotes.
In a game that could have given the Coyotes a surge to their locker room, the Minnesota Wild came in and buried three third period goals to send home the Glendale crowd sour. By a score of 3-1, the Wild allowed for some separation in the ranks of the Western Conference.
The scoring got underway early on a fortuitous tap off the stick of Mikael Boedker for a power-play goal, just nearly three minutes into the contest. In typical hockey coincidence, it was not nearly the best opportunity the ‘Yotes had on the evening; it was just the one that happened to slip past Ilya Bryzgalov and find the back of the net.
After Thomas Greiss played two incredibly solid periods in between the pipes, holding the Wild scoreless, his world crashed in around him in the third. With Jobing.com Arena nearly packed to the brim and a playoff atmosphere in the air, the team flustered down the stretch. There is no real way to justify being outshot by 14-3 in the third period of a game in which the Coyotes were either tied or trailing for more than half of the time.
Zach Parise put on display why he is still regarded as one of the best players born in the United States, if not, the world. His 26th goal of the season knotted the game up off an assist from the stealthy Mikko Koivu. At the conclusion of the contest, Parise punched it in once again, this time an open-netter to hammer the nail into the Coyotes coffin.
Corralling Parise was more of a hope than a certainty; but where the game slipped away was when defenseman Jared Spurgeon beat Greiss off the post to give the Wild the lead they would fail to relinquish. What made this particular goal so frustrating to watch take place was more than the fact that it was from a low-scoring defenseman, but rather that the puck seemed destined to be turned over after what seemed to be a Wild turnover in the making. Seemingly, out of nowhere, Spurgeon darted in and drilled the crossbar—just for it to fall straight down and over the red line. In a game of inches, sometimes the slightest placement of the puck makes all the difference in the world.
As to where things looked optimistic and chipper just 48 hours ago, they have suddenly tensed up to the extreme. Not only did the Wild pull three points ahead of Phoenix for the seven seed in the West, but with a Dallas Stars win in St. Louis, they are now nipping on the heels of the Coyotes.
Of course, as a reminder, the season concludes on April 13 with a massive collision against those very same Stars. For the immediate future, the team welcomes in the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night at 7 PM. The game is undoubtedly a winnable one, but the consist play of Thomas Greiss will need to continue to ring true.
Tags: Phoenix Coyotes