Yesterday, the Arizona Coyotes had one of their worst efforts of the season against the Minnesota Wild. After the first period, it looked like it would be more of the same, with the Coyotes digging themselves a two-goal hole. But the Coyotes dug deep and came back with an impressive 5-2 win.
The first period of the game was almost all Minnesota. Minnesota set the pace of the first period, keeping the Coyotes from setting up in the offensive zone and forcing them to play a back and forth style. And while Arizona struggled to keep up, the Wild scored the first two.
Minnesota got the first goal late in the first. Darcy Kuemper made the first save, but the Wild crashed the net, and Matt Dumba knocked it home.
Things went from bad to worse less than a minute later. It was a simple play, with Jordan Greenway skated in on a 3-on-3 with the puck and fired a wrist shot on net. He beat Kuemper, and all of a sudden, it was 2-0 Minnesota.
Arizona would get the chance to cut the Wild’s lead on the power play a minute later but failed to convert.
Arizona was out of sorts, leading to John Hayden drop the gloves with Marcus Foligno. It wasn’t much of a fight and didn’t seem to give the team much energy, but it showed the Coyotes weren’t out yet.
Coach Tocchet must have given the team an earful because they came out looking like a different team in the second.
They got on the board early, with Lawson Crouse getting his first of the season. Nick Schmaltz brought the puck into the Wild’s zone, and Conor Garland fired it on net. Cam Talbot made the first save, but Lawson Crouse knocked in the rebound, giving the Yotes their first of the night.
Arizona kept up the pressure, and late in the second, were rewarded again.
The Coyotes had been doing much better at establishing a good forecheck. While the Desert Dogs were able to keep the zone, Jakob Chychrun skated in all alone, got the puck from Johan Larsson, and fired it past Talbot. Suddenly it was a tie game.
Minnesota pushed back, but the Coyotes weathered the storm, and the game stayed tied. The Wild took a late penalty when Ian Cole tripped up Tyler Pitlick with what was close to a knee to knee, and Arizona would start the third period on the power play.
Arizona didn’t convert on that power play, but they were pushing hard. And after the penalty expired, they kept the momentum going and forced the Wild to take another penalty.
With Brad Hunt in the box for slashing Christian Fischer, the Yotes were back on the power play.
It wasn’t the best Coyotes power play, and was seconds away from expiring. Clayton Keller brought the puck into the offensive zone and passed it to Derick Brassard in the corner. Brassard found a wide-open Conor Garland, and for the first time in the past two games, the Coyotes had the lead.
But the Coyotes were not going to be satisfied with a one-goal lead. And two minutes later, Niklas Hjalmarsson fired the puck from the point. Tyler Pitlick was set up in front of Cam Talbot, and he was able to redirect the puck past Cam Talbot and give the Coyotes a 4-2 lead.
It was a complete reversal from the previous game. The Coyotes had all the energy and momentum, and they kept up the pressure. Even with a two-goal lead, the Coyotes kept pushing, keeping the Wild from mounting a successful comeback.
The Wild made the bold decision to pull their goalie earlier, with just under three minutes left in the game. They were down by two, and it gave them a good push, but they weren’t able to solve Darcy Kuemper and cut the Coyotes’ lead.
The Coyotes put the final nail in the coffin with just under a minute left. Christian Dvorak won the faceoff, and Hjalmarsson was able to clear the zone. Tyler Pitlick picked up the puck in the neutral zone and brought it into the Wild’s zone. One tap into the empty net and that was all she wrote.
Arizona won the second matchup against the Wild 5-2.
- Coyotes win the first faceoff, seem to be pushing hard to start.
- Tonight was Reverse Retro versus Reverse Retro night. Personally, I like the Wild’s utilization of the North Star’s color scheme, but they use a bit too much yellow, in my opinion.
- Tonight was Frédérik Gauthier’s first game as a Coyote. He was limited to just 5:16, recorded a hit, and blocked a shot.
- Tonight was Jason Demers’ first game since February 18th, when the Coyotes faced the Los Angeles Kings. He played with a more physical edge and seemed solid defensively.
- Christian Fischer had a great look after two Minnesota players collided on the Coyotes’ blue line, and he was able to recover the puck and skate it in all alone, only for Talbot to make the save. Fischer has been much better this season, playing a defensive role/penalty killer who gets a few good looks per game.
- Phil Kessel played with Johan Larsson, and it worked surprisingly well. Kessel has seemed more engaged this season, and despite not showing up on the score sheet, he had a great game.
- Tonight was probably Derick Brassard and Tyler Pitlick’s best game as Coyotes. Both played really well and finished with two points.
- After being outshot 14-7 in the first period, the Coyotes came back and outshot the Wild 11-7 in the second and were tied 13-13 in the third.
- Tyler Pitlick - 2 goals
- Conor Garland - Goal and an assist
- Darcy Kuemper - 30 saves on 32 shots
The Coyotes are back on the road on Monday and will face off against the Colorado Avalanche at 7:00 pm Arizona time.