After a pair of positive victories in Detroit and Toronto, the Arizona Coyotes’ offense evaporated once again.
Arizona was nearly shutout by Darcy Kuemper in a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday afternoon in St. Paul. The Coyotes finished 2-2-0 on their East/Midwest road trip.
1-0 Minnesota - The Wild took a late first period lead on their second power play in three minutes, as Ryan Suter’s wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic, off the far-side post, and in. Assists to Eric Staal and Zach Parise on the power play goal at 16:40.
2-0 Minnesota - Minnesota doubled their lead in the second period as youngster Tyler Graovac blocked a Lawson Crouse point shot, and took the puck himself into the offensive end. He deked around Connor Murphy, and his attempted centering pass to Jason Zucker went through Mike Smith’s pads and in anyway. No assists on the goal at 11:35.
3-0 Minnesota - Chris Stewart blew this game open for the Wild by picking up a brutal Connor Murphy turnover in the Coyotes’ own end. He made a beeline from the near-side boards to the net, and uncorked a quick slapper before any Coyote could recover. Assist to Jared Spurgeon on the goal at 3:24.
3-1 Minnesota - It made no difference in the outcome, but Brendan Perlini’s second NHL goal was even prettier than his first. He pulled a Bobby Orr and scored while being tripped on a fantastic wrist shot. See for yourself:
perlini spoils kuemper's shutout pic.twitter.com/vJN1ET9nj3— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 17, 2016
Assists to Christian Dvorak and Connor Murphy on the goal at 18:06.
4-1 Minnesota - The Wild tacked on an insurance goal as Eric Staal raced to get to a puck behind Arizona’s empty net. His long reach enabled him to quickly slide the puck around and tuck it in. Assists to Charlie Coyle and Mikko Koivu on the empty-net goal at 19:23.
- Will the Coyotes be able to score on Dubnyk? - No Devan Dubnyk for the Wild, but that didn’t make it any easier for the Coyotes to score.
- Can the Coyotes offense stay hot? - Nope. It took almost 59 minutes for Arizona to finally score, though it was a heck of a goal.
- Will Anthony Duclair end his slump anytime soon? - Duclair came tantalizingly close to ending his scoring slump in the third period, but Darcy Kuemper shut the door. How inconsiderate.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Brendan Perlini - Mike Smith was a lot better than his .897 save percentage indicates, but that Perlini goal was gorgeous and worth watching the rest of the game to see.
Minnesota - Tyler Graovac - His second period goal stands as the game winner as Graovac had a heck of a game for the Wild. The 191st overall pick in 2011 took five shots and played a career high 18:45.
- For more on the Minnesota Wild, check out Hockey Wilderness
- No Michael Stone or Ryan White for the Coyotes this afternoon.
- Luke Schenn began the game as Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s partner in lieu of Connor Murphy. Schenn played 19:12 while Murphy played 17:25.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson took all three of Arizona’s penalties.
- Darcy Kuemper stopped 27 of 28 shots in his first game since November 29th.
- Though Arizona kept pace in the shots on goal battle, the shot attempts battle tells a different story; Arizona trailed for most of the game and finished down 67-49 in shot attempts on the afternoon.
Arizona comes home for three straight games against Canadians (followed by a couple of American teams for good measure). First up is Calgary on Monday at 7 PM Arizona time.