Staal, Dubnyk lead Wild past Arizona 2-1
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Eric Staal had already seen his former teammate rob him of a goal once. When he got another chance, he made sure it didn’t happen again.
Staal and Mikael Grandlund scored and Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 of 28 shots to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.
Brendan Perlini scored and Darcy Kuemper stopped 30 shots in his season debut for Arizona. Kuemper was making his first appearance against the franchise that drafted him in 2009. He spent parts of five seasons in Minnesota before leaving as a free agent in 2017.
Kuemper made the save of the game against Staal midway through the second period to keep the game tied 1-1. Minnesota’s Eric Fehr came out of the penalty box to trigger a 3-on-1 for the Wild. Staal skated down the slot and took a pass from Fehr with seemingly half the net to shoot at, but a sprawling Kuemper made a glove save.
“That’s frustrating,” said Stahl, who scored 42 goals last season. “I’ll give him some kudos. It was a great save, but I’ve got to bury those.”
Early in the third period, that’s exactly what he did. After Kuemper stopped Ryan Suter’s initial shot, Jason Zucker tapped it across the crease to Staal, who hit the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
“I went over to play the shot and (Zucker) made a nice play back against the grain and I couldn’t get there,” Kuemper said.
The Coyotes entered the night having scored just two goals in four games, including three shutout losses. But they opened the scoring midway through the first period when Perlini scored his first of the season on the power play.
With Greg Pateryn in the box for hooking, Perlini took a pass below the right circle, walked in on Dubnyk and flicked the puck over the goalie’s left shoulder.
The Coyotes kept up the pressure as they have all season, putting at least 30 shots on goal for the fifth time in five games. But Dubnyk turned aside shot after shot the rest of the way.
“I thought we had our chances,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “When you don’t score, everything is magnified. That’s the problem.”
The Wild tied it early in the second on Granlund’s second goal of the season. Granlund gathered a pass from Jared Spurgeon near the blue line, skated into the high slot and fired a wrist shot that appeared to fool Kuemper, beating him on the glove side.
Coming on the heels of a 4-2 loss at Nashville on Monday, Staal said the win was especially gratifying, even this early in the season.
“Guys know what’s at stake and what we need to do to win. We needed to get this one,” he said. “We knew it. After last night, we were obviously happy with the way we competed but at the end of the day, it’s about results and we didn’t get the result last night. So we needed to get today, and we gutted it out.”
NOTES: Wild captain Mikko Koivu missed the game to attend the birth of his third child. . Minnesota F Matt Hendricks crawled off the ice and limped to the locker room in the last minute of the first period. He did not return. . F Josh Archibald played his first game of the season for Arizona. He missed the previous four games with a lower-body injury.
Coyotes: Arizona travels to Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Thursday night.
Wild: Minnesota visits Dallas on Friday.
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