-- There was a time when the Minnesota Wild
owned the Phoenix Coyotes
and Niklas Backstrom
was a brick wall they could not beat. But the tables have turned, and now Phoenix is looking for a sixth straight win over Minnesota on Thursday.
The Wild won 10 of 12 meetings against the Coyotes from 2006-09, with Backstom posting three shutouts and tormenting Phoenix. But Phoenix swept all four meetings during its renaissance season in 2009-10 and made it five straight with a 4-2 win in St. Paul on Dec. 1. That win came during a run that has seen the Coyotes collect points in 12 of the last 14 games (9-2-3), with different players taking the scoring lead.
Recently, the leader has been Scottie Upshall
, who had 2 goals and an assist in the win over the Wild, continuing a long run of success against Minnesota. Dating back to his days with Nashville and Philadelphia, Upshall has 6 goals and 6 assists in his last eight games against the Wild. Now paired with ex-Wild center Eric Belanger
and captain Shane Doan
-- who broke out of a long scoring slump with a goal in Sunday's 3-0 win at Anaheim -- the Coyotes have three lines with consistent scoring punch to put on the ice.