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The Wrap: Coyotes Shoot Often, Strike Only Once in Loss to Wild

Arizona begins a three-game road trip Saturday

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes
Final Score: Wild 4, Coyotes 1
Record: 20-22-5
Standings: 4th-place, West Division

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Despite recording a season-high 40 shots, the Coyotes fell to the Minnesota Wild, 4-1, Wednesday night at Gila River Arena. 

"We deserved a better fate," head coach Rick Tocchet said. "But this is a game of results."

The Coyotes dominated the Wild in the first period, at times out-shooting Minnesota, 10-1 and 14-4. Arizona established an early lead as a result of early pressure.

Christian Dvorak struck for a power play goal, 1-0, banking a shot off of Cam Talbot's right pad from behind the goal-line. Dvorak snapped a seven-game scoring drought with the tally.

Arizona maintained its pressure in the second period, out-shooting Minnesota 17-7. The Wild, though, scored the lone goal of the frame to tie the game, 1-1.

Dryden Hunt nearly reclaimed the lead for the Coyotes late in the second, but his shot rattled off the crossbar and post before caroming out. 

"The puck luck didn't really go our way, I guess," Hunt said.

Minnesota tacked on three goals in the third, including an empty-netter in the final seconds.

Jakob Chychrun almost tied the game, 2-2, before Minnesota scored twice in the final two minutes, but was denied by a marvelous Talbot save. 

"(Talbot) made a hell of a save on (Chychrun) there at the end," Tocchet said. "He almost tied it there. That was a 10-bell save. That was a key turning point." 

The Coyotes played without Conor Garland and Tyler Pitlick, two key pieces to the team's offense. Garland suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday's practice; he is Arizona's second-leading scorer. Pitlick missed his second straight game. Both players are expected to be out indefinitely

"I don't think any single person is going to bring what (Garland) brings, or do what Pitlick does (for us)," Hunt said. "I think they're unique players and they bring a lot to our team. It kind of has to be a host of people (filling the voids), we've had different guys stepping up. All 12 (forwards) are going to have to step up." 

Darcy Kuemper made 19 saves in his third start back from injury.

The Coyotes open a three-game road trip Saturday in Los Angeles.

"It's kind of a make-or-break road trip for us," Hunt said. "You don't want to look at the standings every minute, but everybody knows it's right there for the taking."

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The Game:

First Period: Christian Dvorak opened the scoring at 7:38 to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.

Second Period: Kevin Fiala evened the score for Minnesota, 1-1, at 2:58.

Third Period: The Wild built a 4-1 lead with goals from Marcus Foligno (4:32), Kirill Kaprizov (18:20) and Nico Sturm (19:48).

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Statistics:

SOG: ARI - 40, MIN - 23

PP: ARI - 1/2, MIN - 0/1

Hits: ARI - 33, MIN - 30

Blocks: ARI - 5, MIN - 19

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Tocchet's Take: "Yeah, (it's frustrating). I thought the guys played a good game, but you don't come out with the results you want. That's the way it is. It's a game where you've got to score some goals, you need some people to score some goals. You need people to make good reads in pressure situations. (The Wild) didn't have much, we had a couple wrong reads and they scored their goals. We had a bunch of chances and we didn't score. That's the game."

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Niklas Hjalmarsson said: "I think we played pretty well today, but we've got to find a way to put the puck in the net. That was the biggest difference. I think the guys were hungry. We were good on the forecheck and forcing (Minnesota) to turn over the puck. The forwards did a great job today and made it easier for us to play on the back end. We definitely need to bring the energy here when we go on the road. It's going to be a big three games for us coming up."

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Notable: 

  • Christian Dvorak scored his team-leading sixth power play goal.
  • Lane Pederson recorded his first career NHL assist on Christian Dvorak's goal. 

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A Closer Look: The Coyotes have nine regular-season games remaining. They are one point up on the St. Louis Blues for the fourth and final West Division playoff position. The Blues, however, now have four games in hand on the Coyotes. St. Louis has played 43 games, Arizona has played 47. St. Louis plays its next game Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche. 

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Coyotes Lineup:

Forwards

Bunting - Schmaltz - Keller

Crouse - Dvorak - Kessel

Hunt - Larsson - Hayden

Brassard - Pederson - Fischer

Defensemen

Ekman-Larsson - Goligoski

Chychrun - Demers

Hjalmarsson - Lyubushkin

Scratches

Pitlick

Oesterle

Garland

Hill

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Roster Notes: Conor Garland is out with a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday in practice and did not dress. Derick Brassard replaced Garland; Brassard was a healthy scratch the previous two games. 

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What's Next: The Coyotes have a scheduled off-day Thursday, and a practice scheduled Friday. They play the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night, 7:30 p.m., at STAPLES Center. 

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Photo of the Game: Special tape for a special night. Coyotes players used rainbow-colored "Pride Tape" on their sticks during pre-game warm-ups, signifying allyship with the LGBTQ+ community during the team's inaugural "Pride Night."

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Highlights:

Video: Condensed Game: Wild @ Coyotes

Lead Photo Credit: Kelsey Grant - Arizona Coyotes

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