I can’t even begin to tell you what happened. Minnesota lost to the Arizona Coyotes again in just awful fashion. They were in control, until the wheels fell off near the end of the 2nd period.
Zach Parise scored the first goal of the game on a delayed penalty. Daniel Winnik was tripped in the neutral zone, but Joel Eriksson Ek stuck with the play and bought just enough time for Alex Stalock to get off the ice. He dished to Nino Niederreiter, who forwarded the puck on for Parise fresh off the bench. Parise scored low glove side.
This all happened at the Wild didn’t give up a single shot on goal to the Coyotes until close to the 16 minute mark of the period. Minnesota hit posts and missed the net a lot, but also gave up nothing. On top of that, Anttii Raanta, in net for Arizona, was really good.
Minnesota did the same in the second period but could not convert. Mikael Granlund and Niederreiter were stopped on strong plays where they drove the net. There was a power play in which the Wild kept missing the net. They just couldn’t make the Coyotes pay.
A late defensive zone faceoff was a stalemate in the dot by the two centermen. Jakob Chychrun found the puck and snapped it over the shoulder of Stalock to even the score. The following 4 minutes of the period was all Coyotes as the Wild tried to get to intermission.
They did get to intermission with a 1-1 tie. Then things happened. I really don’t know because apparently I have all kinds of issues staying awake past 10 pm.
I awoke to a 2-2 score just before Richard Panik score the go-ahead goal and make the score 3-2. What I missed was the Coyotes take a 2-1 lead when Christian Dvorak scored on a rebound in the blue paint. Mikko Koivu then tied the game with a power play goal, his 11th of the season.
Noticeably quiet in the game was the Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Mikael Granlund line. After notching 26 points in 3 straight games, they had their chances tonight, but they couldn’t score.
Kevin Connaughton, who killed the Wild the last time these two teams played, got a one-timer in the right offensive circle and beat Stalock high to the short side to give a two goal lead to the Coyotes.
For as in control the Wild were in this game, it was the illusion. They never had control, and the Coyotes were out now.
Minnesota was summarily rope-a-doped. The Wild were check-raised, and it cost them two points. Yeah, sure, Matt Cullen scored to cut the Arizona lead to one. It allowed them to pull the goalie for the extra attacker with 2:03 left on the clock. In a last ditch effort to tie the game, Zucker ended up hitting Charlie Coyle in the mouth with a shot, and Matt Dumba couldn’t put away the carom off of Coyle’s jaw.
Jordan Martinook bank shot the puck 170 feet into the empty net. That’s how this one would end, in a 5-3 loss for the Wild in embarrassing fashion for the second straight time against these Coyotes.
Wild are in Colorado Friday night to take on the Avalanche. A win is not just needed, but it’s incredibly important to get two points to continue to hold the spot in the Central Division. I promise to not fall asleep at the wheel tomorrow night.