The Wild just can't 3-on-3. It's a struggle, and that struggle is real. Minnesota is now 1-6 in overtime periods, and this time it took something new for the Arizona Coyotes to gain the victory. Zach Parise was called for high sticking just 16 seconds into overtime in the offensive zone. It was an errant stick that hit Brad Richardson in the face rather than anything meant to be malicious when Parise and Richardson collided shoulder to shoulder. But Mikkel Boedker, the lone Coyotes goal scorer got a hold of a puck that caromed off a player out front and he back handed the puck into a waning net.
Darcy Kuemper and Anders Lindback started in their respective nets. Minnesota got the best of the shots and puck possession, but the two were locked in a goalie duel. The longer the game went on, you knew it was going to be a goofy bounce that gives either team the edge.
Arizona and Minnesota skated to a scoreless tie in the first period. The Wild had two power play opportunities in which there was decent puck movement, but no real body movement. The top power play unit featured Jason Pominville on the right half-wall in the umbrella set-up, taking Mikael Granlund's spot. The right-handed shot does provide another one-time option for Suter at the point, and one that should (KEYWORD: should) mean more shots from that left circle. The power play went 0-for-4 on the night.
Minnesota finally opened the scoring when a Granlund board battle behind his own net forced a turnover. Pominville sent a pass to the left side for Parise. Parise, Jared Spurgeon, and Pominville broke the zone together and when Parise chipped the puck past a Coyotes defender, they also had numbers in their favor. Parise sent a pass to Spurgeon, who drove the center lane and crashed the net. Spurgeon then tipped the puck in mid-air over the glove of Lindback and into the net. Overall, a really nice play started in the defensive zone and a nice play to finish at the net for Spurgeon's 4th of the season.
Then with just over two minutes remaining in the period, a pass went between Parise on Pominville was mis-handled gave Boedker a breakaway and a goal to tie the game. It was turning point in every sense of the word. In a game that saw some very few chances and low events, the Wild had caused a flurry of action in a span of 3 minutes. They ended up hitting the post three times just before the faceoff that eventually led to the Boedker breakaway.
The Wild's Nino Niderreiter and Chris Porter took a couple late penalties to give the Coyotes a glimmer of hope in stealing the game. Most importantly, it kept the Wild from applying pressure in the offensive zone. The Wild penalty kill was superb in killing off all five penalties in regulation. It just couldn't kill off the 4-on-3 penalty in overtime.
It should have been a much bigger concentration for the Wild to stay out of the box in the third period, especially for a Coyotes team that had a difficult time generating any bit of offense on their own.
It was two points Minnesota should've had. When they only allow a team to get 6 shots on goal after 30 minutes of play, they are doing something right. Kuemper played another solid game and stopped 19 of the 21 shots he faced. Anders Lindback stopped 27 shots in the overtime victory.
Minnesota now heads to the Bay Area to take on the San Jose Sharks Saturday night.