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Pivotal Moment: Spurgeon Gaffe Gives Momemtum to Coyotes

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A rare error from Jared Spurgeon allows Arizona to get back into the game as Devan Dubnyk is unable to pick him up.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Things were going well for the Minnesota Wild, they had jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first frame.  7 minutes into the second, last year's league-leading penalty kill flipped the script and delivered a short-handed goal from Mikko Koivu off a nice hustle play by Jason Zucker, who also drew a penalty as he charged into the zone.  The Wild were on their way to a nice tight victory over the undefeated Coyotes with their 3-0 lead.  5 minutes later, Nino Niederreiter made an ill-advised pass to the point in the Coyotes zone which resulted in an odd-man rush and ultimately a nice tic-tac goal from Max Domi to Anthony Duclair that beat Devan Dubnyk cleanly.  Not too worry, it was one mistake in a very good period for the Wild.

But, in the waning moments of the second period, an odd play changed the feel of the game a bit.  Martin Hanzal accepted a pass right in front of the crease from Connor Murphy deep in the Arizona zone.  Hanzal looked up and saw Domi streaking ahead and flipped the puck ahead to try to spring him free.  Jared Spurgeon was in good position on Domi, but the pass arrived high and Spurgeon decided to glove it down.  The puck took a funny bounce in the air off the glove which twisted Spurgeon's weight off his stride while the puck landed on the stick of Domi.  With Spurgeon's leg trajectory headed one way and his arms crossed the other way, it brought him down to the ice just as the puck reached the blade of Domi.  Spurgeon was able to get his stick back on the puck as Domi moved to the right, but Domi stayed strong on the puck and was able to recover.  Dubnyk was caught moving side to side as he had not settled in to face the shot as Domi juked around the fallen Spurgeon and put it straight through Dubnyk's wickets with 9 seconds left in the period.  It was a bad bounce gone all sorts of wrong for both Spurgeon and the netminder. Here's a look at the play:

Though they had played a good period, the last-minute strike by Domi proved to be disheartening as the Wild came out flat and disorganized in the third.  There were penalties galore, and fortunately the Coyotes got themselves in penalty trouble as well as the teams traded power plays that kept being foreshortened by the team on power play committing another penalty to even it up.  The Wild PK was able to hold strong and right the ship after struggling early in the season by having a perfect night and contributing a short-handed goal. That goal also proved to be a difference maker in a game that ended up way closer on the score sheet than it should have as the Wild held leads of 3-0 and 4-1.  The good news is that even though the third period may have been their worst of the young season, the Wild still found a way to hold on and win the game.