GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With eight games left in the regular season and needing a win in the worst way, the Minnesota Wild players gathered together for a private meeting Friday night and resolved that it was time to turn the page on their struggles and refocus on the task at hand.
It took 40 minutes for the results to show Saturday, but the Wild got what they came for.
Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon scored 4:54 apart in the third period and the Wild held the Phoenix Coyotes without a shot for more than 24 minutes during the second and third periods to rally for a 3-1 win.
"We had a big talk last night, just the team," said Spurgeon, whose fifth goal of the season put the Wild ahead to stay with 7:03 left to play. "We talked about how important this game was and if we turn it around now then we can get hot and just forget about the past."
Parise added a second goal, his 27th of the season, into an empty net with 43.7 seconds left to wrap up the Wild's fourth win in the past 12 games.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 23 saves to help the Wild (38-26-11) move three points ahead of the Coyotes for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Bryzgalov is 3-0-2 in five starts with Minnesota.
"You look at their goals; their big-name guys scored, Parise played well," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "We didn't find enough offense from our forwards. Our forwards have to be better."
Thomas Greiss made 27 saves for the Coyotes (36-27-12), whose lead over the Dallas Stars for the second wild-card spot is down to one point. The Stars beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 earlier Saturday.
"Dallas won so we would have been in a pretty tough spot had we lost this game," Parise said. "But we can learn a lot from just the way we didn't get frustrated. We got better as the game went on and eventually we were able to take it over."
Phoenix forward Mikkel Boedker scored his 19th goal of the season 3:15 into the first period and had a chance to double the lead early in the third but hit the post. After Radim Vrbata put a shot on Bryzgalov at 13:36 of the second period, Phoenix didn't get a shot on goal for the next 24 minutes and 28 seconds, until Bryzgalov stopped an Oliver Ekman-Larsson shot with 1:56 left in regulation.
"We can't let them come out in the third and score two and get an empty-net goal." Boedker said. "That's not how we do it around here. This was a good opportunity to jump up [over Minnesota] but that's the way it goes."
The game-winner came from Spurgeon, who walked into a pass that bounced off the side boards and the puck knuckled past Greiss' glove.
"I saw (Mikael Granlund) and (Jason Pominville) driving and I was coming late," Spurgeon said. "Granny tried to hit Pommer and it sort of bounced off of his stick and I was able to walk into it. I was thinking shot all the way but if it doesn't go there is a rebound hopefully."
Minnesota's penalty kill came into the game having allowed 11 goals in the past 31 power plays (64.5 percent), and the Coyotes made that worse after the Wild were called for too many men on the ice 2:28 into play.
Following a nice Keith Yandle keep-in at the blue line, Ekman-Larsson found Shane Doan in the corner with a no-look pass. Doan sent the puck to the crease, where Boedker and Minnesota's Matt Cooke were battling, and the puck deflected off Boedker's leg and past Bryzgalov at 3:15. Boedker has three goals and six points in the past seven games.
Phoenix scored first for the 12th time in the past 15 games, but Bryzgalov stopped everything else from there. The Wild killed three more Phoenix power plays and dominated play from the second period on.
The Wild dominated play in the second, peppering the Phoenix net late in the period. Greiss made big saves on Parise and Matt Cooke and got some help when Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone swept a puck sitting in the goal crease out of harm's way with two minutes left.
But all the Minnesota pressure paid off in the third. At 8:04, Mikko Koivu won a faceoff against Phoenix's Martin Hanzal in the Coyotes' end and pushed the puck back. Parise fired a wrist shot through traffic and over the blocker of Greiss to tie it.
"We've tried that before," Parise said of the set play. "It's just never worked."