Wild score 8 goals in final periods, Coyotes’ Kuemper hurt
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Minnesota might not be where it wants to be in the Western Conference standings. The Wild can say they have swept a season series against a current conference contender.
The Wild took the third and final meeting of the regular season against the Arizona Coyotes 8-5, scoring all eight of their goals in the final two periods.
Marcus Foligno, Eric Staal and Mats Zuccarello each had a goal and two assists.
The Coyotes lost for the fourth time in five home games and took another hit.
Arizona lost No. 1 goaltender Darcy Kuemper to injury late in the third period. Kuemper had to be helped off the ice with 3:08 to play after going into a butterfly position to stop a shot by Ryan Hartman and struggling to get up.
“That’s a tough one to watch,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said of Kuemper’s injury, offering no medical update after the game. “I’m taking the positive, really. I’ve seen things that look bad and the next day they’re not as bad. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
The Wild put an end to a three-game road losing streak, scoring eight goals on 33 shots, including an empty-net goal in the final seconds. Hartman and Brad Hunt each had a goal and assist. Ryan Suter, Ryan Donato and Luke Kunin also scored for Minnesota. Zach Parise had two assists and Devan Dubnyk had 35 saves in his first game since November 16.
“I wouldn’t say fun,” Hartman said. “A little stressful with those high scoring games. Frustrating but also rewarding.”
The Wild outscored the Coyotes 4-1 in the second period and 4-3 in the third after trailing 1-0 at the end of the first.
Jakob Chychrun scored two goals, giving him a career high nine this season, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel also scored for the Coyotes. Newly acquired forward Taylor Hall, in his home debut, got the primary assist on Kessel’s first-period goal.
Nick Schmaltz had three assists, raising his team-high point total to 27, and Alex Goligoski added two assists for the Coyotes.
The third period saw Arizona draw even at 4, with two of four goals scored in less than five minutes to start the session. The Wild answered with the next two goals and four of the final five.
“You need to play good defense to win and I thought it was, for our team, a little too up and down for our stuff,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Every now and again you can get away with it.”
Holding a tenuous 6-5 lead after Keller’s goal with more than 14 minutes to play, Suter scored at 11:16 and Kunin scored with the net empty with nine seconds left.
Kuemper entered the game with a 15-7-2 mark as a starter in goal and a 1.97 goals-against average. He was replaced by Antti Raanta.
“You hate to see that,” Chychrun said of Kuemper. “He was in a lot of pain. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it looks and hopefully he can come back 100 percent.”
NOTES: The Wild activated D Jared Spurgeon, who played Thursday. Spurgeon had been out since Dec. 3 with an upper-body injury. D Brennan Menell was re-assigned to Iowa of the AHL. ... F Jason Zucker was scratched after being sent back to Minnesota because of a lower-body injury that could cost him at least a week. ... F Conor Garland, the Coyotes leading goal scorer with 12, was scratched with an upper-body injury, and the Coyotes announced he is day-to-day. Garland hadn’t missed a game all season. ... F Christian Fischer was back in the lineup after being scratched Tuesday at San Jose. ... Hall was introduced as a starter before the game and received a loud cheer from the crowd.
Minnesota: Host Winnipeg on Saturday.
Arizona: At Detroit Sunday, the first meeting between the teams this season.