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Parise pushes Wild past Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Down a defenseman before the game and down a goal twice during it, the Minnesota Wild revived their dormant road power play to overcome the desperate Arizona Coyotes.

Zach Parise tied the game in the third period with a power-play goal and scored one of two Wild goals in the shootout for a 4-3 win against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

Parise and Mikko Koivu scored in the shootout for the Wild, who responded to an animated challenge from Minnesota coach Mike Yeo before practice Friday to step up their play.

"For us to come back to find a way to win is important given the way things have gone for us lately," Parise said. "There was definitely more life, and to get rewarded with a road win was important."

The Wild played with five defensemen and 19 skaters after Jared Spurgeon felt ill in warm-ups. With Keith Ballard and Marco Scandella out, Minnesota had no options on the blue line. The top defense pair of Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin played a combined 65:41.

"To battle adversity tonight and play a man short, I thought all the defense did a great job and really stepped up," Yeo said. "We talked about it yesterday: We can't accept anything close and we were close for 55 minutes and we found a way to come back and win the game. That's a big credit to the boys."

Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker scored for Minnesota, and Jason Pominville had two assists. Goalie Niklas Backstrom made 26 saves before stopping Mikkel Boedker and Tobias Rieder in the shootout.

The Wild power play, which had scored once in 44 chances in the first 14 road games of the season, scored two of Minnesota's three goals. Parise banged home a rebound of a Pominville shot from the side of the net for his 11th goal to tie the game 3-3 with 5:53 to go in the third period.

"We got in the zone cleaner, and once we did we had a shot mentality," Parise said. "We recovered pucks well. We were aggressive trying to get pucks back, and when you don't cheat you come up with more pucks in the corners."

Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and an assist, and Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski had a goal each for the Coyotes, who have lost a franchise record nine straight games at home (0-6-3). Goalie Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves.

The Coyotes (10-16-4) have lost five in a row and are 1-6-2 in the past nine games. Their last home win came Nov. 4, 3-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"We took steps in the right direction tonight," Ekman-Larsson said. "We played a solid game and played with a lot of confidence and energy. We just have to be a little bit smarter."

Arizona coach Dave Tippett benched center Sam Gagner and defenseman Connor Murphy in an attempt to send a message, and the Coyotes responded with a better effort, gaining the first point in four games of a five-game homestand that ends Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers.

"If we play like that night in and night out we'll have better results," Tippett said. "When you have to start yanking top players out of the lineup to make messages … I probably should have done it a while ago. But now we're at the point where we have to find results."

The Wild (16-11-1) made the most of an early power play to get that unit rolling.

Joe Vitale took down Minnesota's Charlie Coyle in the Arizona offensive zone 1:51 into play and the Wild scored 57 seconds later. Thomas Vanek set up Suter for a shot from the high slot, and Niederreiter deflected it down and under Dubnyk. Niederreiter's team-leading 13th goal was his ninth in the past 14 games, dating to Nov. 13.

The Coyotes needed 1:04 to get a power play of their own and tie the game.

Koivu broke the stick of Arizona's Zbynek Michalek with a slash and the Coyotes scored in 25 seconds. Boedker found Ekman-Larsson sneaking in from point with a cross-ice pass, and Ekman-Larsson's one-timer beat Backstrom's glove to the near post. Ekman-Larsson's sixth goal was his fourth on the power-play, one behind Antoine Vermette for the Coyotes lead.

Arizona took its first lead 1:40 into the second period when Ekman-Larsson's pass from the point found Vermette between the circles. Vermette's shot deflected off a body, changed direction, and Backstrom couldn't get enough of the puck with his blocker to keep it out. Vermette's eighth goal is one shy of Boedker's Coyotes lead.

Arizona looked strong protecting the lead before the kind of play that has plagued them during their slide. Defenseman David Schlemko misplayed a Pominville pass in the neutral zone, slipped between his legs, and found Zucker at the Arizona blue line. He raced in on the breakaway and put a backhand over Dubnyk at 13:25 to tie the game 2-2.

The Coyotes answered when Kyle Chipchura broke up a pass, pulled the puck off the wall and started a 3-on-1 break. He fed Korpikoski for shot that Backstrom stopped, but the rebound when back to Korpikoski, who put the second try up high for his third goal at 19:32.

A Coyle penalty put the Coyotes on the power play with 8:29 left in the third period, but Arizona's Martin Hanzal was called for goalie interference late in the advantage, leading to Parise's tying goal.

"[Hanzal] is not even in the paint. The goalie is out above the paint and Suter pushes him into the goalie as he's going after the puck," Tippett said. "Hanzal lost his tooth on a high stick before that and there is no call and then the call in the crease … that's a couple of bad breaks."

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