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Phoenix Coyotes vs. Minnesota Wild

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GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (20-31-18-6) at Minnesota Wild (25-27-20-2).

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Minnesota Wild look to keep their faint playoff hopes alive when they host the struggling Phoenix Coyotes in the final meeting between the teams this season.

Minnesota is tied for 11th place in the Western Conference, nine points out of the last playoff spot.

The Wild snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak (4-0-3) with a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Friday - also ending a three-game winning streak.

Andrew Brunette scored his 15th goal for his fifth point in seven games.

Alexandre Daigle, in his first season with the Wild, is having his best year since 1996-97. The winger, who missed two years before returning with the Penguins last season, has 14 goals and 42 points in 70 games - just two points behind team leader Brunette.

Despite the loss, Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire was pleased with his team's effort.

"It was a pretty good game," Lemaire said. "We didn't get a lot of shots (17), but we had a lot of good chances to score."

Phoenix, winless in its last 15 games (0-8-4-3), will be the first of three opponents for Minnesota that are out of playoff contention. After this matchup, the Wild will play road games at Columbus and Chicago.

The Coyotes have not won since replacing coach Bob Francis with Rick Bowness on Feb. 24. They're 0-7-3-3 since the switch. However, they have earned a point in three straight games (0-0-2-1), including a 2-2 tie with Chicago on Sunday.

Dan Cleary had a goal and an assist while Mike Comrie scored on the power play and Brian Boucher made 32 saves. Boucher is just 3-15-6 since his NHL-record fifth consecutive shutout at Minnesota on Jan. 9.

Phoenix leads the all-time series 8-4-3-0.

STANDINGS: Coyotes - 64 points, 5th place, 28 PB, Pacific Division. Wild - 72 points, 5th place, 21 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Shane Doan and Ladislav Nagy, 24 goals; Shane Doan, 41 assists and 65 points; Andrei Nazarov, 125 PIM. Wild - Brunette, 15 goals, 29 assists and 44 points; Matt Johnson, 161 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 19): Coyotes - Power play: 14.6 percent (48 for 329), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (303 for 369), 23rd. Wild - Power play: 13.1 percent (39 for 298), 28th. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (219 for 260), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Boucher (9-17-10, 5 SO, 2.69 GAA); Brent Johnson (4-6-2, 1, 2.44). Wild - Dwayne Roloson (16-17-11, 4, 1.89); Manny Fernandez (9-12-9, 2, 2.43).

SEASON SERIES: Even, 1-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 7; Tie, 1-1. At Phoenix, the Coyotes killed three third-period penalties and an abbreviated 31.9-second power play in the overtime as Johnson, acquired from St. Louis two days earlier, made 30 saves in his Phoenix debut.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 10-14-11-2 on the road; Wild - 15-13-7-1 at home.


Associated Press
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