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Minnesota
Wild
40-33-9
Phoenix
Coyotes
36-39-7

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Wild-Coyotes Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Wild-Coyotes Preview
Minnesota Wild vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Though the Minnesota Wild have dropped consecutive games for the first time this season, they might be able to turn things around against a team they've dominated in recent years.

As they try to avoid losing their third straight overall, the Wild seek their eighth consecutive victory over the host Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

Minnesota (6-2-1) was the last remaining team in the NHL without a loss in regular for a second straight season, opening with a 6-0-1 mark through the first few weeks after starting 7-0-1 in 2007-08.

But the Wild couldn't overcome an early deficit in a 4-2 defeat at Dallas on Wednesday, then lost 2-1 at home to Montreal on Thursday.

In their most recent contest, they held a 29-21 shooting advantage and faltered on all 10 of their power-play opportunities - tying the franchise record set in an overtime loss against visiting Anaheim on Dec. 8, 2000.

"In Dallas we had a couple bad bounces to start the game, and this time we had trouble finishing," said center James Sheppard, who assisted on Brent Burns' first-period goal. "Our game was there, we just have to learn to capitalize."

While Minnesota struggled on special teams in its last game, it ranks among the league leaders in the NHL in converting 21.7 percent (10-for-46) of its chances with the man advantage. The Wild also boast the best penalty-killing unit in the league, stopping 30 of 32 power-play opportunities (93.8 percent).

They should continue to have success in those areas on Saturday versus a Coyotes squad that has capitalized on just 15.6 percent (5-for-32) of its man-advantage chances so far and allowed six power-play goals in 18 tries (33.3) over its last five games.

Minnesota has tallied seven power-play goals and has outscored Phoenix 21-8 in winning the teams' last seven matchups. It has also won nine of the last 10 meetings, sweeping the four-game series last season.

The Wild, who are opening a four-game road trip, have won three straight away matchups versus the Coyotes (4-4-0), who improved to 2-1-0 on their current four-game stretch at Jobing.com Arena with a 4-1 rout of visiting Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Shane Doan scored twice - his team-leading fifth and sixth goals, respectively - and added an assist, while Steve Reinprecht and Zbynek Michalek each contributed two assists for Phoenix, which bounced back from Saturday's 4-1 home loss to Calgary.

"The Calgary loss (on Saturday) established the fact that we've got a long ways to go," Doan, who has 10 goals and 16 points in 27 all-time games versus the Wild, told the Coyotes' official Web site. "We just want to make sure we're ready for the next game."

Ilya Bryzgalov made 27 saves, helping the Coyotes to their best start since opening 6-1-0 with a tie in 2000-01. He has a 3.01 goals-against average in splitting six starts this season, but has stopped 55 of 57 shots in winning both of his outings at home.

However, Bryzgalov has a 3.54 GAA in losing all four of his career starts versus the Wild.

Meanwhile, Minnesota's Josh Harding made 19 saves on Thursday in his first start of the season, but top goaltender Niklas Backstrom will likely be back in the net on Saturday.

Backstrom - 6-1-1 with a 2.29 GAA in eight overall starts - is 6-0-0 with a 1.17 GAA and two shutouts lifetime versus the Coyotes. He has allowed four goals on 106 shots in three contests in Phoenix.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 13 '09 PHX 3 at MIN 6 M. Koivu
Dec 11 '08 MIN 1 at PHX 3 O. Jokinen
Nov 13 '08 PHX 0 at MIN 4 M. Zidlicky
Nov 01 '08 MIN 3 at PHX 2 E. Belanger
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Koivu1021214+4610
A. Miettinen106511-2422
A. Brunette10448-1020
E. Belanger10325+0012
K. Johnsson10145+0200
B. Pouliot10314+4400
B. Burns9314-31221
M. Bergeron10224+31020
P. Bouchard7134+0000
O. Nolan5134+1601
C. Gillies8033+2400
J. Sheppard10022-5600
D. Boogaard9022+2900
S. Veilleux10101-4400
M. Gaborik2101+0000
N. Schultz10011+2600
C. Weller7011+1000
M. Zidlicky6011-4600
T. Mojzis4011-1200
M. Skoula10000+0200
C. Clutterbuck8000-4000
E. Reitz5000+2200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom97-1-1192472.26.923
J. Harding20-1-03411.84.927
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
S. Doan96410+12521
O. Jokinen94610+31020
S. Reinprecht7066+5200
P. Mueller9325-2222
M. Boedker9314-1200
K. Turris9134-4001
K. Yandle7134-31000
K. Porter9123+1000
Z. Michalek9033+5200
M. Hanzal9033-5200
T. Fedoruk9112+01900
K. Sauer9022+51600
E. Lisin2101-1000
V. Tikhonov9011-2200
D. Hale9011-6700
D. Winnik9000-32700
D. Morris9000-4200
E. Jovanovski9000-6400
D. Carcillo7000-31500
K. Klee5000-1400
B. McGrattan2000-1200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
I. Bryzgalov73-4-0212143.01.902
M. Tellqvist21-1-04672.00.940