The Phoenix Coyotes came out of the gates stagnant and the visiting Minnesota Wild took an early advantage and never looked back in their 4-3 win at Jobing.com Arena. The Wild scored a pair of goals within the first six minutes of the opening period and after the second period they were in complete control with a 4-1 lead.
“We didn't play obviously our best in the first and second and then we end up playing desperate,” Coyotes defenseman KeithYandle said. “Obviously they were up and left off the gas a little bit . We kind of played OK in the third but it's nothing to be proud of.”
The Wild were paced by a pair of goals from Dany Heatley and goalie Niklas Backstrom kept the Coyotes at bay with 28-saves. Center Matt Cullen tallied a pair of assists for Minnesota and despite the the close final score the Wild were in control the whole time.
Down 4-1 in the third Yandle made it a two score contest after scoring his third goals of the season with less than five-minutes left in the game. Coyotes captain Shane Doan made the game interesting when he scored with 59-seconds remaining in the game to make it a one goal contest but the Wild were always in control.
In many stretches Phoenix looked like a team running on fumes. A trying three-game road trip through western Canada, which they lost two of three, plus tonight's contest gave the 'Yotes four games in the last six-days. Maybe running on fumes isn't the proper allegory for the Coyotes. Maybe they were running on empty against the Minnesota Wild.
“Our group was a little tired tonight,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. “You could see it wasn't the same zip in it. But that being said, you still manufacture a win.”
The loss dropped the Coyotes season record to 9-8-3 (21 pts) which leaves them in 11th place in the Western Conference and in last place in the Pacific Division. Phoenix is 5-4-1 in their last ten-games and due to some scheduling abnormalities their next three-games are against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are flying high this season with a record of 14-3-1 (29 pts) and are currently in second place in the Western Conference.
The first chapter of the Ducks trilogy is on Saturday, March 2 at home in Jobing.com Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 6 p.m. (MT)
“If you beat teams ahead of you that means you're taking points away from them,” Tippett said. “If you're beating teams below you that means that you're keeping them back. But we've got to keep ourselves in the hunt."