GLENDALE AZ - DECEMBER 09: Goaltender Niklas Backstrom #32 of the Minnesota Wild watches the play around Jared Spurgeon #46 during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on December 9 2010 in Glendale Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Niklas Backstrom played a very solid game making 33 saves and preventing the Phoenix Coyotes from tying the game late in Minnesota's 3-2 win. The Coyotes couldn't quite get the offense chugging along in this game and it just proved to be too hard battling from behind against a defensively solid Wild squad.
Andrew Brunette scored two goals including the game winner on a late power play from a weak holding call on Adrian Aucoin. Taylor Pyatt scored a goal and added an assist on the second Coyotes goal that was credited to Martin Hanzal.
Not much to really say about this one other than the Coyotes need to put it into the rearview mirror and focus on getting two points against division leader Dallas when they come to town on Saturday. After the jump, bullet points taken during the game, three stars and comment of the night...
- The Wild's first goal from Andrew Brunette was on a sneaky 2-on-1 that was created where Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal were slow getting back in coverage and Keith Yandle got caught pinching up. It was a shame because earlier that shift they were generating really good pressure.
- Oliver Ekman-Larrson returned from San Antonio and assisted on the first Coyotes goal after getting out of the box and making a beauty of a pass to Taylor Pyatt while taking a big hit from Cal Clutterbuck. Great play all around...
- Not going to lie, I pretty much missed the second Minny goal, but it looked like it was a bang-bang play where Burns got to a puck while surrounded by 'Yotes and Bryz had no chance...
- Lauri Korpikoski, Shane Doan and Scottie Upshall all had golden opportunities to score but were hitting posts or failing to get shots at open nets. Frustrating type of stuff, generally.
- Coyotes were having trouble keeping puck possession and drawing penalties as they didn't draw any until there were only 5 minutes to go in the game.
- OEL made the great play to set up the Pyatt goal, but was also whistled for two penalties...He needs to be better in that regard or he'll be back in Tip's dog house.
- Adrian Aucoin was called for a weak holding penalty that Brunette scored on the powerplay after only ten seconds. Frustrating to say the least.
- The Coyotes PP goal on a deflection by Pyatt from a Doan shot was made off of a great keep in by Ray Whitney.
- With the empty net, the Coyotes pressured, but couldn't get a real good shot on net. Minny iced it and earned the win with their solid defensive play late in the game...
OUR THREE STARS
1. Niklas Backstrom - was solid and got the rebounds out of harm's way. He was frustrated with the Coyotes crashing the crease, but the Coyotes didn't do enough to get him completely off his game.
2. Taylor Pyatt - a goal and an assist and general solid play throughout.
3. Andrew Brunette - two goals including the game winner.
COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
RED! WINGS! SUCK!
Clap Clap Clap
Turn it around quick, boys...long six game road trip is on the way and it will be a doozy. Coyotes had opportunities and failed to cash in and that is not going to work on this coming road trip. With the west as tightly packed as it is, every game is important and you have to imagine that Coach Tippett will be looking to get the team on track before Saturday's matchup with Dallas.