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Minnesota Wild vs. Phoenix Coyotes

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GAME: Minnesota Wild (21-26-18-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (20-27-15-5).

TIME: Sunday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Minnesota Wild visit the Phoenix Coyotes in a matchup of two teams in the midst of lengthy winless streaks.

The Wild are 0-4-2-0 over their last six games, and have dropped out of the playoff race in the Western Conference. Phoenix has played even worse of late, going 0-4-1-2 over its last seven contests.

Minnesota's offensive ineptitude has been the main cause of its recent slump.

"The last couple of games we played well enough to win, but just haven't been able to score any goals," Wild center Jason Wiemer said. "Maybe now we can start getting some to go in."

Wiemer ended a 24-game scoring drought with 2:17 left in the third period to help the Wild to a 1-1 tie with the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Pierre-Marc Bouchard set up the goal with a perfect pass from behind the net, earning his first point in 14 games.

All-Star goaltender Dwayne Roloson, playing for the first time since his father's death on Feb. 22, made 14 of his 25 saves in the first period and three more in overtime.

"It felt good to get back in there," said Roloson, who sat out four straight games because of the flu. "I felt a little sluggish, but I think that's only natural."

Minnesota, which has the third-least goals in the league with 144, has been held to one goal or fewer in four of its last five games.

The Coyotes are hoping to get some consistent play out of their goaltenders.

Brian Boucher was ineffective in a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday as Daymond Langkow, Mike Comrie and Chris Gratton scored for the slumping Coyotes.

"I know it looks like four goals on 25 shots, but I felt better about my game," said Boucher, who is a dismal 1-12-2 in his last 15 starts.

Boucher had an NHL record five-game shutout streak earlier this season, including a 2-0 blanking of the Wild in Minnesota on Jan. 9.

The Coyotes acquired goalie Brent Johnson from St. Louis on Thursday to help out. Johnson was 4-3-1 in 10 games with the Blues this season, posting a 2.43 goals-against average.

STANDINGS (through March 5): Wild - 62 points, 5th place, 23 PB, Northwest Division. Coyotes - 60 points, 5th place, 23 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Andrew Brunette and Alexandre Daigle, 12 goals; Andrew Brunette, 27 assists and 39 points; Matt Johnson, 151 PIM. Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy, 24 goals; Shane Doan, 40 assists and 62 points; Andrei Nazarov, 118 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 5): Wild - Power play: 13.1 percent (35 for 268), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (199 for 236), 15th. Coyotes - Power play: 15.3 percent (46 for 300), 20th. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (274 for 335), 24th.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Roloson (15-16-9, 4 SO, 1.93 GAA); Manny Fernandez (6-12-9, 1, 2.51). Coyotes - Boucher (9-15-8, 5, 2.73); Johnson (4-3-1, 1, 2.43).

SEASON SERIES: Even, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 9; Coyotes, 2-0. At Minnesota, Boucher stopped 21 shots and posted his modern-record fifth consecutive shutout to lead the Coyotes. Roloson made 30 saves for the Wild.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 8-13-11-1 on the road; Coyotes - 10-15-5-3 at home.


Associated Press
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