Arizona started the game off strong, getting several quality looks and controlling the pace of the game. Minnesota couldn’t do much to keep them from getting set up in the offensive zone, and the Coyotes looked great.
And that consistent pressure led to them getting the first power play of the game, with Carson Soucy called for tripping. Arizona’s strong play carried over into the power play, and it was one of their better power plays as of late.
Phil Kessel’s shot didn’t make it to the net, and the puck ended up with Lane Pederson. Pederson got the puck to Christian Dvorak, who pushed the puck to the front of the net. The puck bounced off Cam Talbot and slid into the net.
An early lead on a power play goal gave the team a ton of confidence, and the Yotes continued to dominate in the first. Arizona had lost six of the last seven games against the Wild, but after the first period, it looked like things were going to be different.
Things would start to slip in the second period. The Coyotes were still the better team, but the Wild were finally beginning to wake up. And as we have seen over and over this season, the Wild can capitalize on other teams’ mistakes.
And early in the second, they did just that. A poorly timed change and a breakdown in the neutral zone led to a 2-on-1 for Nico Sturm and Kevin Fiala. Strum passed the puck to Fiala, and he fired it into a wide-open net.
The Coyotes responded the way you would want them to. They kept up the pressure, coming close several times.
Not long after the goal, Lawson Crouse delivered a crushing hit to steal the puck and had a decent look. And the Coyotes got their second power play, and though they didn’t score, it was another good power play, and the Wild didn’t gain momentum after killing it.
But as we have seen over and over again, they couldn’t put it home. The Coyotes had tons of great looks, but there was no finish.
The second period ended with the Coyotes killing a penalty with just three minutes left to go. And after giving up so many power play goals to the Wild, it was nice to see them kept to just one shot.
Over the first two periods, the Coyotes outshot the Wild 31-16. They had been the better team, they had had their chances, and if they kept it up, it would be theirs. But they couldn’t, and the Wild scored three unanswered goals.
Marcus Foligno started the scoring four and a half minutes into the period. He had a breakaway down the left side and fired a wrist shot past Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper hadn’t had to do much work, but he had been solid, and that was a tough one to give up.
And from there, you could predict the outcome. The Coyotes’ inability to finish followed them into the third period and the Wild were rallying after the goal. Even though there was still three-quarters of a period left, it wasn’t looking good for the Desert Dogs.
I have lost track of how many times the Coyotes have played well this season but lose anyway because they had no finish. They continued to get close, but they couldn’t score the tying goal.
Kirill Kaprizov pretty much killed any chance of a comeback when he scored with 1:40 left in the game. And if that wasn’t enough, Nico Strum got the empty-netter with 12 seconds left.
The odds were against the Coyotes tonight. But it is so frustrating to watch the team play good hockey and lose because they can’t score.
The St. Louis Blues now have four games in hand are only one point behind the Coyotes for the final wildcard spot. And even though they have a more difficult schedule, it’s hard to believe they can’t close that gap.
- Tonight was the inaugural Pride Night for the Arizona Coyotes and it was cool to see the organization go all out for it.
Hockey is for everyone.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) April 22, 2021
Love is for everyone. pic.twitter.com/OtLIqGTibm
- Conor Garland missed tonight's game and may miss significant time with a knee injury.
- Garland being out led to Derek Brassard drawing in on the fourth line.
- Dryden Hunt had a shot that went off both the crossbar and the post. That one was more bad luck than lack of finish.
- Arizona took only one penalty and was a very disciplined team. Until the third period when the whistles were put away.
- Final shots on goal, 40-23 Arizona. Final score 4-1 Wild.
- Cam Talbot - 39 saves on 40 shots
- Christian Dvorak - 1 goal
- Nico Sturm - 1 goal and 1 assist
The Coyotes will be playing the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday at 7 pm.