GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -What a difference a night makes.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild were embarrassed by allowing a franchise-tying eight goals in a loss to the Dallas Stars. They showed a reversal of form Thursday night, and rebounded with character and discipline against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Niklas Backstrom made 46 saves in the Wild's 3-2 victory over the Coyotes. A strong Minnesota defense in front of him limited rebounds and Phoenix's scoring opportunities.
"This was a very big game for us, and not just getting a win," Backstrom said. "This was a chance to get our pride and identity back."
The Wild called a team meeting Thursday morning and vowed to leave their 8-3 defeat back in Texas.
"We had to exorcise the demons," said forward Mark Parrish, who scored his first goal since Nov. 15. "We took some pretty hard lessons (in Dallas), and now we're ready to move forward."
Backstrom was aided by three power-play goals, the second time in four games Minnesota clicked three times with the advantage.
Eric Belanger converted Brett Burns' shot off the back boards and beat goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the short side just 2:08 in. It was his eighth goal of the season and his first point in four games.
"Coming into this game, we did not have the best feeling," Belanger said. "That's the beauty of this game that you have a chance to bounce back, and we did that."
|Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, right, makes a save as Phoenix Coyotes right winger Shane Doan, left, sets a screen in the first period on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)|
The Coyotes' best chance to tie in the first period came during a power play late in the frame. Peter Mueller, from the slot, fired over the Minnesota net while Backstrom was out of position.
Phoenix got even when Joel Perrault knocked in a rebound on the power play at 3:23. The tally was Perrault's third goal since being recalled Dec. 14 from San Antonio (AHL).
Minnesota took a 2-1 lead when Belanger sent Parrish in alone on Bryzgalov, and Parrish scored with a backhander at 10:02.
Though Backstrom faced 48 shots, few rebounds were left. The defense played well around the crease.
"We were stingy throughout the game," Belanger added. "The forwards back-checked very well, and we came up with three power-play goals."
The Wild grabbed a two-goal lead when Brian Rolston fired in a power-play goal at 3:51 of the third period.
Enver Lisin, just recalled from San Antonio, cut the Coyotes' deficit to 3-2 with 2:27 left when he scored his second NHL goal.
That wasn't enough to please Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky.
"We're not scoring enough on the power play," he said. "I mean, 14 percent is just not good enough. We had too many guys on the power play who turned pucks over and giving pucks away. Our power play was horrendous."
The Coyotes lost in regulation at home for the ninth time in 15 games (5-9-1), giving them the worst home mark in the NHL.
"On the road, we're finding ways to win. And home, we're finding ways to come up short," captain Shane Doan said. "It comes down to being ready to start, and bearing down on our opportunities."
Notes: With two assists, Burns notched his second multipoint game of the season. The other was Dec. 18 against Nashville. ... The Wild have scored four power-play goals in a game twice this season. The Coyotes' 48 shots was a season high. Their previous best was 42 at Philadelphia on Dec. 16. Doan recorded his 500th NHL point with an assist on Lisin's goal.