"They got a free goal, just to give them a little momentum, just at the right time," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said after Minnesota's 6-4 victory Saturday night.
Walz scored twice and added two assists for his first career four-point game, but he and the Wild were more concerned about a call on a delayed penalty.
Holding a 4-1 late in the second period, the Wild were called for a delayed penalty. Minnesota cleared the puck out of the zone for what Lemaire believed should have been a play-stopping whistle. Instead, play went on and Geoff Sanderson scored a goal with a minute left to pull the Coyotes to 4-2.
"That is not the game," Lemaire said. "The whistle should be blown at the blue line when we move it out. Then we'd have a different game than we had. That's what I want."
Walz said he was told by the officials that while Minnesota had touched the puck, the Wild failed to gain control and earn a whistle. Walz himself was sent to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct after he argued the non-call.
"I had a meltdown," he said. "Maybe the guy on our team didn't know (he needed control.) Does he have to skate and handle the puck for three strikes before he blows the whistle? It happens every game. When the other team has a penalty, the other team touches the puck and the whistle blows. What are they looking at? I don't understand. That's why we as players get frustrated at times."
Marian Gaborik also scored a pair of goals, and Todd White and Pierre-Marc Bouchard added goals to help the Wild win their second straight following a three-game losing streak. Sanderson scored twice, and Mike Ricci and Mike Comrie added goals for Phoenix. The Coyotes lost for the third time in four games.
"We couldn't quite get it done again," said defenseman Keith Ballard, who had an assist on Sanderson's disputed goal. "We played hard. But we game them too many chances and whatever chances we gave them were pretty quality ones. They did a good job taking advantage of that."
The Coyotes rallied from a three-goal deficit to pull to 4-3 on Mike Comrie's goal from the left of the crease 1:28 into the third period.
Bouchard made it 5-3 on a rebound off the boards behind the net with 14:41 remaining. Sanderson's second goal 79 seconds later again cut Minnesota's lead to one, but Walz scored his second off a cross-crease pass from Randy Robitaille with 12:49 to put the Wild ahead 6-4.
After a scoreless first period, Walz carried the puck into the Coyotes zone and slid the puck between Curtis Joseph's pads from between the circles at 4:48 of the first period.
Gaborik extended the lead to 2-0 when he flipped the puck over Joseph's shoulder from the right of the net.
Ricci pulled Phoenix to 2-1 at 11:10, jumping on the puck after goalie Manny Fernandez whiffed on a clearing attempt and scoring into an open net.
But White beat Joseph from the bottom of the left circle at 13:26 of the second and Gaborik scored his second at 14:13 with a shot off the inside of Joseph's left leg to give Minnesota a 4-1 lead.
Joseph, making his sixth consecutive start for the Coyotes, was benched at the start of the third period in favor of newly acquired Phillipe Sauve after allowing four goals on 21 shots.
Sauve, acquired Thursday from Calgary with Steven Reinprecht, stopped 12 of 14 shots in his Phoenix debut.
"He looked solid and stable," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He looked good in his first game for us."
Notes: Ricci's goal was his 600th career point. ... Walz has scored 13 of his 19 points on the road. ... Joseph has been pulled at the start of the third period in two of his last three starts. ... Gaborik has nine goals and three assists in his last 11 games.
|Wes Walz (8) ASST: Filip Kuba (13), Willie Mitchell (5)|
1 - 0 MIN
|Marian Gaborik (21) ASST: Wes Walz (9), Andrei Zyuzin (9)|
2 - 0 MIN
|SHG - Mike Ricci (7) ASST: NONE|
2 - 1 MIN
|PPG - Todd White (17) ASST: Kurtis Foster (10), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (28)|
3 - 1 MIN
|Marian Gaborik (22) ASST: Randy Robitaille (19), Wes Walz (10)|
4 - 1 MIN
|Geoff Sanderson (14) ASST: Mike Comrie (19), Keith Ballard (23)|
4 - 2 MIN
|Mike Comrie (19) ASST: Fredrik Sjostrom (10), Paul Mara (24)|
4 - 3 MIN
|Pierre-Marc Bouchard (10) ASST: Todd White (14), Brian Rolston (34)|
5 - 3 MIN
|Geoff Sanderson (15) ASST: Keith Ballard (24), Dennis Seidenberg (9)|
5 - 4 MIN
|Wes Walz (9) ASST: Randy Robitaille (20), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (29)|
6 - 4 MIN
|Power Play %||15.8%||20.0%|
|% on Road||11.1%||23.2%|
|% at Home||19.6%||17.0%|
|Derek Boogaard Fighting (maj) against Matthew Spiller|
|Matthew Spiller Fighting (maj) against Derek Boogaard|
|Kurtis Foster Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Filip Kuba Hooking against Steve Gainey|
|Wes Walz Interference|
|Fredrik Sjostrom Hi-sticking against Willie Mitchell|
|Steve Gainey Tripping against Mikko Koivu|
|Pascal Dupuis Hi-sticking against Paul Mara|
|Mike Comrie Tripping against Filip Kuba|
|Mike Comrie Hi-sticking|
|Todd White Interference against Zbynek Michalek|
|Mike Comrie Hooking|
|Geoff Sanderson Interference on goalkeeper against Manny Fernandez|
|Wes Walz Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Pascal Dupuis Hi-sticking against Matthew Spiller|
|Matthew Spiller Holding|
|Mike Johnson Hooking against Marian Gaborik|