Good day, State of Hockey Legion!
The Minnesota Wild is in the desert tonight to face the Phoenix Cactuses, also known as the Coyotes. The Wild’s outlook in tonight’s game looks strong to quite strong because: A) the momentum from its last outing B) its lineup C) goaltending.
A) Minnesota is skating for its second-straight win after a thrilling 2-1 overtime match against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. This is the fourth back-to-back-game series on the season, thus far. In the first night of back-to-backs the Wild is 3-0 on the year.
B) The Wild has moved rookie Mikael Granlund between Dany Heatley and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Those are three guys who have the potential to put the puck in the net, and together I think they find some chemistry tonight.
C) Niklas Backstrom has been hotter than the surface of my poolside lounger (hey, even writers need their Vitamin D). Niklas Backstrom is 4-1-1 in his last six starts with a 1.45 goals against average and a .943 save percentage allowing only one goal in each of the four victories.
The Wild is rocking the road whites with Forrest Green and Iron Range Red trim.
As always, follow the action at @mnwildLIVE.
It’s a game time, baby!
Period 1 - MIN 2, PHX 0
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo talked about getting off to a good start today and the club started things off right away, scoring in the first two minutes of the game.
The Wild had a quick transition play, resulting in a Jason Zucker goal. Matt Cullen received an entry pass from Devin Setoguchi and found time and space. Zucker busted hard to the net and tipped it past Coyotes goalie, Mike Smith.
Later in the period, Dany Heatley scored his sixth goal of the season as the Wild doubled up its lead on Phoenix, 2-0. The goal was assisted by Ryan Suter for his team-leading 12th of the year.
The Wild is going to take the momentum from the first period right into the second frame. Just watch and see.
Period 2 - MIN 4, PHX 2
The Wild continued its momentum in the second period, but the Coyotes got on the board midway through the period.
Dany Heatley is hot tonight as he blasts a stone-cold snipe past Smith, high to the glove side. Cullen slid the puck right into the big forwards wheelhouse, and Heater pounded a one-timer over the glove of the Phoenix netmnider.
The Coyotes got on the board about halfway through the second, as Klela snuck a pass past Backstrom's blocker. Kyle Chipchura and Mikkel Boedker picked up assist on the goal.
The Wild closed out the scoring on the man advantage. Minnesota controlled the play in the offensive zone getting several shots before Jared Spurgeon knocked home his first of the season. Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise picked up assists.
So, Minnesota will take a three goal lead into the third period, and the club doesn't allow third period goals, so things are looking really good. Like, Kate Upton good. Kate, if you're reading this and a fan of Wild.com, hit me up @mikedoyle_12.
Period 3 - MIN 4, PHX 3
Now that was just a weird third period, but it really didn't matter as the Wild hung on to pull out a victory. The eventual score was a lot closer than the actual game because of a wonky bounce and a late goal.
Keith Yandle was just trying to put the puck into the Yotes' offensive zone, but ended up putting the puck into the back of the net. Hit dump bounced off the top of the glass, and squeaked past Backstom's pad. Somehow Morris and Boedker were credited with assists, but you really should've credited the glass with that one.
The Coyotes drew within one goal as Shane Doan scored with 59 seconds left in the game. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Steve Sullivan added assist on the play.
We'll see you all tomorrow night as the Wild travels to Anaheim to face the Ducks at 9 p.m. State of Hockey time.