In a matchup between two teams looking to gain some momentum, the Arizona Coyotes fell to the Minnesota Wild 3-1. Minnesota dominated possession and used speed to their advantage.
In the first period, Minnesota’s pressure forced Arizona to commit three penalties. Although the Coyotes were able to kill off these power plays, the shots on goal fired at Mike Smith continued to soar. More than thirteen minutes into the game, Nino Niederreiter set up Charlie Coyle for his fifth of the season to give Minnesota a 1-0 advantage.
Early in the second period, the Wild continued to show superior puck possession and kept the play in Arizona’s defensive zone. Near the halfway point of the game, Justin Fontaine connected with a streaking Jason Zucker for his team-leading 16th goal of the season, giving the Wild a 2-0 lead.
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After 13 minutes of play in the second period, Wild captain Mikko Koivu was called for a slashing penalty. This was the opportunity that Arizona needed to get back in the game. While on the power play, Antoine Vermette cashed in his 11th goal of the season with help from David Moss and Keith Yandle.
The third period began with Minnesota holding a 2-1 lead over Arizona. For the first 10 minutes of the period there was a lack consistent play. However, as the period progressed, Arizona’s pressure towards the net was displayed. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, moments after Smith was pulled, Zach Parise netted an empty net goal for his 16th of the season to tie Zucker for the team lead and hand the Wild a 3-1 victory.
The goaltending for both the Coyotes and the Wild was outstanding. In a losing effort, Smith looked more stable than in previous games, saving 30 of 32 shots. Devan Dubnyk saved 25 of 26 against his former team and collected his second victory with his new team.
Arizona (16-24-4) will continue their road trip on Sunday night when they visit the Winnipeg Jets. Minnesota (20-19-5) will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Antoine Vermette (11th)
Charlie Coyle (5th)
Jason Zucker (16th)
Zach Parise (16th)
1. Charlie Coyle
2. Devan Dubnyk
3. Zach Parise