For the past two seasons, the Arizona Coyotes have matched up terribly against the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are a much better team this season, so it’s not surprising that the Coyotes still match up terribly against them.
After regaining a playoff spot last Saturday, the Coyotes had a chance to extend their lead on the St. Louis Blues. They are only one point ahead and have now played three more games, so they could really use points.
The Coyotes have had some really bad starts lately, but tonight wasn’t one of them. They didn’t look great, but the bar was pretty low.
Minnesota was able to score first, with Kirill Kaprizov getting his 18th of the season on the power play. The Coyotes don’t seem to know how to counter the Wild’s power play, because that would be the first of two power play goals for the Wild and their fifth in two games.
The Coyotes’ first response to going down 1-0 was to almost immediately take a second penalty. Arizona would kill that second one, but it looked like we were in for a rough game.
But hockey is a game of mistakes, and after missing so many chances this season, the Coyotes finally capitalized on one of those mistakes.
Christian Fischer intercepted a pass right in front of Cam Talbot and fired it home. He was in the right place at the right time, and suddenly it was a different game.
Tonight's dinner: Pepperoni pizza. pic.twitter.com/U0fPjnyUTO— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) April 20, 2021
That goal provided a shot in the arm for the Coyotes as the period winded down. And Arizona got their first power play opportunity with 1:02 left in the period.
Arizona failed to convert before the period expired and didn’t do much when the second started. And the Coyotes were pushing, but maybe they were pushing a bit too much.
A turnover on the Wild’s blue line and a bad change would lead to Marcus Foligno and Jordan Greenway in on a 2-on-1. Foligno passed the puck over to Jordan Greenway, who tapped it into a wide-open net.
The Coyotes didn’t immediately fall apart, but it didn’t look good. And with Clayton Keller in the box for hooking, Marcus Johansson scored the Wild’s second power play goal of the night.
Arizona finished the period down 3-1, and things weren’t looking good. They had problems entering the zone, and the Wild’s play in the defensive zone kept them from establishing their forecheck.
It was night and day from Saturday, where the Coyotes controlled the pace of the game by forcing the Blues to play in their own zone. Minnesota wasn’t letting them set up, and had a great counter-attack that kept the Coyotes from doing much.
The third period started with some hope, but it was short-lived. Alex Goligoski fired the puck from the blue line through traffic and past Talbot. An early goal was probably their best mounting a comeback.
That feeling lasted four minutes and five seconds. That’s how long it took for Kevin Fiala to give the Wild a 4-2 lead. And that was it.
The Coyotes maybe could have come back from being down 3-2. But for a team that so often struggles to score that third goal, giving up four was a death sentence.
Jonas Brodin would get an empty-net goal to give the Wild the 5-2 victory.
It was another rough night for the Desert Dogs, who played a decent first but couldn’t keep it going. And any hopes for a comeback were dashed with a single goal.
- It looked like the Wild made it 4-1 not long after they scored their third goal, but the goal was waved off due to incidental contact with Darcy Kuemper.
- The Coyotes won 69% of the faceoffs, which is a great sign considering how much they were struggling in that area.
- Darcy Kuemper had his second straight start since returning from injury. He looked like he still has a bit of rust, not to suggest that tonight's loss was his fault.
The Coyotes play the Wild again this Wednesday at 6:00 pm Arizona time.