Arizona Coyotes tame Minnesota Wild

The surging Arizona Coyotes ended the Wild's five-game win streak in a game showing the Coyotes' resilience and determination.

Arizona Coyotes tame Minnesota Wild
Arizona Coyotes' center Christian Dvorak scores against the WIld goalie Alex Stalock in 5-3 Arizona win. (Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP

After a wild first period where the Minnesota Wild team fired 13 shots at Arizona goalie Antti Raanta, the Coyotes settled down and made the last two periods count.

With just five shots on net in the initial period, the Arizona Coyotes followed that up with just six shots in the middle stanza, but one got into the net compliments of Jakob Chychrun's power-play goal.

The final period saw the Coyotes play like head coach Rick Tocchet wants them to play when they hit the net four times to ice the game.

First-period recap

The Wild came out flying and really could have led by more than one goal with their level of play. The key to the Coyotes keeping it just a one-goal deficit was the stellar play of goalie Antti Raanta and the penalty killing team's excellent performance.

The Wild went 0-4 in power play attempts and they missed their opportunity to break the game open early. 

Zach Parise was able to get the Wild on the scoreboard with a goal at the 15:36 mark. 

The period ended with the visiting Wild ahead 1-0.

Second-period comeback

The last 10 minutes of the second period belonged to the Arizona Coyotes. Jakob Chychrun tallied a pretty goal near the right faceoff circle. He used his incredible strength to muscle the puck away and fire a nifty wrister through teammate Christian Fischer's legs to baffle the Wild goaltender and tie the game at one.


Chychrun's play has been improving game by game, and his future (he's just 19-years-old) with the team is certainly a bright spot on the blueline. 

It was his second goal of the season and he also has nine assists while only participating in 33 games this season due to a knee injury he sustained in the off-season.

The Wild had two additional power play chances and failed to cash in on them. They were 0-6 in the man advantage through two periods.

How do you spell "missed opportunities?"

Third-period was decisive for Arizona

At 4:32 of the last period, Christian Dvorak was at the right place at the right time and scored his 11th goal of the campaign and second in five games to forge the Coyotes ahead by a goal.

The lead didn't last long, as the Wild tied the game once again when they finally scored a power-play goal at the 7:20 mark by Mikko Koivu while Arizona's Kevin Connauton sat in the box for a delay of game penalty.

The resilient Coyotes bounced right back 49 seconds later when Richard Panik finally tallied his first goal in an Arizona uniform to give the team the lead they never relinquished.

But, the Coyotes weren't going to allow their opponents back in the game, which had been their downfall before the new year began.

The hot performing Kevin Connauton continued his surging scoring streak by tallying his seventh goal since February 1, 2018. 

The scoring by the Coyotes' blueline has been a huge factor in their comeback since 2018 began.

The team is now starting to turn things around with a 10-7-5 record in 2018, with 25 points in 22 games. If they hadn't incurred disabling injuries to key players like Chychrun, Raanta, and Hjalmarsson who are all healthy now, their record would be much better.

The Coyotes faltered a bit after this goal by Connauton when Matt Cullen brought his Minnesota team closer by scoring at the 13:13 mark.

The key to the Arizona team winning any game is maintaining a lead, and they showed again that they have learned from their errors of the past by maintaining their lead to the point where the Wild had to pull their goalie in favor of an extra attacker.

That strategy backfired for the Wild when Jordan Martinook banked a shot off the left glass of his own zone all the way down to the empty net capping a victory for the Coyotes.

Keys to the game

Max Domi was named the first star of the game, as he provided three helpers to show he doesn't want to be traded. He may not be turning on the red light much this season, but since he switched to the center position his playmaking abilities have elevated. He now had 25 assists... not bad.

Strong goaltending by Raanta was also a key to the win. He made 32 saves on 35 shots and kept his team in the game. He now is almost at the .500 mark in wins (14-15-6) and that's pretty amazing considering the Coyotes' record. 

Home sweet home

In their current eight-game homestand (besides the one game win in San Jose) the Yotes are 5-2-1 showing that playing at home has its advantages. Earlier in the season, they were on the road so much their families forgot what they looked like.

They will face the Ottawa Senators next on Saturday night before going back on the road (if they can locate their suitcases) to play the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, and Colorado Avalanche. They then will enjoy another nice five-game homestand in the friendly confines of Gila River Arena.

This team is playing well, but the attendance at last night's game was announced at only 10,904 and the fans need to come out and enjoy the resurgent Coyotes play.

They won't be disappointed.