Niederreiter, Wild dodge letdown with 4-3 win over Coyotes
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — This time, the Minnesota Wild answered their wakeup call.
Nino Niederreiter had two power-play goals and an assist, including the go-ahead score for the Wild with 7:06 remaining in a 4-3 victory Thursday night after the Arizona Coyotes came back from a two-goal deficit.
“We weren’t happy with our first 40 minutes, but good thing about this league is you’ve got a chance to redeem yourself,” said Chris Stewart, whose breakaway deke to his backhand beat Louis Domingue late in the second period and gave the Wild a 3-1 lead.
Jakob Chychrun’s one-timer through traffic, set up by the first of two assists for Shane Doan, was followed 30 seconds later by a post-scraping slap shot by Jamie McGinn. Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk never saw the shot after a post-faceoff loose puck, and it tied the game before the second intermission.
“Them scoring two goals late, as mad as I was, was probably good for us because it woke us up for the third period,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said.
With Doan in the penalty box for hooking, Niederreiter knocked in a nifty redirect of Mikael Granlund’s slap shot for the winner. Dubnyk stopped 20 shots for the Wild, who are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games.
“Those are the times where you need to win the special teams battles, and we lost tonight,” said Domingue, who made 21 saves.
The Coyotes, who dropped their fourth in a row, fell to 2-12-1 in their last 15 games starting with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 17.
“We’re a desperate team, and we knew we were coming in to a barn that’s tough to play in and a team that’s tough to play against,” Chychrun said, “so we had to have our energy level up.”
The Wild squandered 2-0 and 3-2 leads in a loss to New Jersey two days before that upset Boudreau because of “dumb things” done by his conference-leading team. But this so-far-slump-proof squad has taken consecutive regulation losses only once all season: Nov. 1 against Buffalo and Nov. 5 at Colorado.
“They had some moments, we had a couple lapses, and they capitalized. I don’t care who you play against in this league, it can happen,” said Eric Staal, who scored his team-leading 16th goal early in the first period for the Wild before rookie Brendan Perlini answered with his fourth score in the last six games for the Coyotes.
Domingue won 2-1 here on Jan. 25, 2016, while the Wild were in the middle of their 1-11-2 meltdown that triggered the firing of coach Mike Yeo.
Dubnyk, the NHL leader this season in goals-against average and save percentage, has given up three goals or more in five of his last eight turns.
The second-worst-in-the-Western Conference Coyotes proved far more formidable than the standings suggested, on the last stop of their three-leg road trip and playing for the fifth time in seven days.
They shuffled the lineup by sending right wing Anthony Duclair to the AHL and reintroducing right wing Ryan White, who missed the previous 11 games because of a lower-body injury. Center Peter Holland and defenseman Connor Murphy were scratched for the first time in more than a month.
“We could have used a couple more saves and take a couple of mistakes out of our game,” coach Dave Tippett said, “but we’re looking for an effort part of it, and that’s the first step right now.”
NOTES: In 22 games since the start of December, the Wild have outscored opponents 83-52. ... The Wild played without defenseman Jonas Brodin (broken finger) for the first time this season, an injury that will sideline him for at least a month. Nate Prosser played in his place, and Mike Reilly was recalled from the AHL for depth. ... Coyotes center and alternate captain Martin Hanzal missed a second straight game because of a family matter. ... Duclair, who had 20 goals and 44 points in 2015-16, his first full NHL season, has only three goals and nine points this season. ... The Wild are 8-0-2 in their last 10 games against the Coyotes since Jan. 9, 2014.
Coyotes: Arizona starts a five-game homestand Saturday night against Tampa Bay.
Wild: Minnesota wraps up a four-game homestand this weekend against Anaheim on Saturday night and Nashville on Sunday night.