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The Wrap: Fischer Scores His First, Coyotes Fall to Wild

Arizona's four-game, home win streak snapped

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes
Final Score: Wild 5, Coyotes 2
Record: 20-21-5
Standings: 4th-place, West Division

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The Coyotes' four-game, home win streak snapped in a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild Monday night at Gila River Arena.

Arizona's previous home loss came on March 22. 

The Coyotes matched the Wild in shots -- the teams recorded 24 apiece. Arizona generated many of its opportunities through its physical game, laying a season-high 45 hits.

"I thought we had a lot of looks tonight, to be honest," said Alex Goligoski. "We're not bearing down and finishing plays. I think tonight's game went a lot like the previous four or five games. We're playing pretty good hockey, it's just the chances we're giving up are big ones and the other teams are converting." 

Christian Fischer scored his first goal of the season to respond to Minnesota's game-opening goal, tying the game, 1-1, in the late stages of the first period. Fischer intercepted a Wild pass in the offensive zone and beat Cam Talbot with a wrist shot from the slot.

"It's nice to score," Fischer said. "To be honest, it really hasn't been crushing me or on my mind that much. I've done a lot of good things with my game. I've found a way to impact the game in other ways. I love scoring, and it's nice to get one. Obviously, it would have nice to have gotten the win."

Minnesota responded with two second period goals to build a 3-1 lead.

Goligoski cut the deficit to one, 3-2, with a slap shot goal early in the third. 

The Wild answered with two more goals, 5-2, including an empty-netter with 2:07 remaining.

The Coyotes played without forward Tyler Pitlick, who aggravated his lower-body injury Saturday night. Head coach Rick Tocchet expects Pitlick to miss significant time. 

"I don't think he's going to be back for a while," Tocchet said. "I don't know a timeline but he's not going to be back here for quite a bit, I think."

Darcy Kuemper made 19 saves in his second game back from injury. 

The Coyotes are 1-6-0 against the Wild this season. The eighth, and final match-up is Wednesday at Gila River Arena. 

"This next game is massive for us," Fischer said. "I know it's cliché, but it's the biggest game of the year. We've got to find a way. We've got to find a way to lock down and give ourselves the best chance to win." 

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The Game: 

First Period: Kirill Kaprizov opened the scoring at 9:19 to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. Christian Fischer evened the score, 1-1, at 14:28.

Second Period: Jordan Geenway (3:37) and Marcus Johansson (9:38) increase Minnesota's lead to 3-1.

Third Period: Alex Goligoski cut the Coyotes' deficit to one, 3-2, at 1:15. Kevin Fiala re-claimed a two-goal lead for the Wild, 4-2, at 6:20. Jonas Brodin scored an empty net goal, 5-2, at 17:53.

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Statistics: 

SOG: ARI - 24, MIN - 24

PP: ARI - 0/1, MIN - 2/3

Hits: ARI - 45, MIN - 24

Blocks: ARI - 10, MIN - 14 

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Tocchet's Take: "We worked hard. (Minnesota) made some really nice plays at the right times. I don't think they had a lot of chances five-on-five. We had some (scoring chances) in the second period, and we made it a 3-2 game. They've got some good players over there. Our guys are trying, we had some guys trying, but there are some guys who are really struggling for us, they're not scoring and they're not defending right, and it's hurting us." 

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Christian Fischer said: "We got it to one goal there. We can't afford to have a defensive zone collapse (in the third period). We need to value taking our game to another level, especially when we're keeping ourselves in (the game). We've come back plenty of times this year from two goals. We've got to give ourselves the best chance, and obviously we didn't do that. This team, they're good, and when you give them space or miss coverages, they're going to score. They've got our number right now and we've got to figure it out." 

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Notable:

  • Alex Goligoski scored to extend his point streak to four games. Goligoski has 13 points (3G, 10A) in the previous 14 games.
  • Christian Fischer scored his first goal of the season. The goal was Fischer's first since February 19, 2020.
  • Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller assisted Alex Goligoski's goal and both are now tied with Conor Garland for second on the team in scoring, with 32 points.
  • The Coyotes recorded a season-high 45 hits, surpassing their previous high of 43, set on April 9 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

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A Closer Look: The Coyotes (45) remain one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues (44) for the fourth and final West Division playoff position. The Blues have three games in hand on Arizona, and following the Coyotes' game Wednesday against the Wild, they will have four games in hand. The Blues do not play again until Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche. 

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Coyotes Lineup:

Forwards

Keller - Schmaltz - Garland

Hunt - Larsson - Kessel

Crouse - Dvorak - Fischer

Bunting - Pederson - Hayden 

Defensemen

Chychrun - Goligoski

Ekman-Larsson - Lyubushkin

Hjalmarsson - Demers 

Scratches

Brassard

Pitlick

Oesterle

Hill

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Roster Notes: Tyler Pitlick aggravated his lower-body injury and did not dress. John Hayden replaced Pitlick, appearing in his first game since April 5. 

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What's Next: The Coyotes have a practice scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Tuesday. They play the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night, 6:00 p.m., at Gila River Arena.

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Photo of the Game: A reason to smile. Christian Fischer finishes his celebratory skate past the Coyotes bench after scoring his first goal of the season, tying the game, 1-1, late in the first period.

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Highlights:

Video: Condensed Game: Wild @ Coyotes

Lead Photo Credit: Kelsey Grant - Arizona Coyotes

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