Wild wins for 4th time in 5 games
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Dany Heatley scored two goals and the Minnesota Wild used a rare offensive outburst to hold off the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 Thursday night.
Jason Zucker scored 1:35 into the game on Minnesota’s first shot and Heatley added one late in the period on its third. Heatley scored again in the second and Jared Spurgeon added his first goal in more than a year to put the Wild up 4-1.
The Coyotes rallied in the third period, getting a strange goal by Keith Yandle that caromed off the glass past Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom and another score by Shane Doan with 59 seconds left.
Phoenix couldn’t score again, though, sending Minnesota to its fourth win in five games.
Rostislav Klesla also scored for the Coyotes, but goalie Mike Smith also had an off night, allowing four goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Jason LaBarbera to start the third period.
The Wild have been on a good roll in February since losing five of seven to start the month.
Despite ranking 30th in the NHL with 2.06 goals per game, Minnesota won three of its previous four games, including 2-1 over Calgary on Tuesday after Zucker scored late in regulation and Zach Parise got his eighth career overtime winner 27 seconds into the extra period.
Minnesota didn’t need long to score against the Coyotes, with Zucker redirecting a pass by Matt Cullen to beat Smith to the glove side for his third goal in five games.
Heatley made it 2-0 late in the first period, beating Smith stick side from the left circle after Pierre-Marc Bouchard made a chip pass at the blue line to get around Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris.
Backstrom was solid in the period, turning away 11 shots and Heatley added to the lead in the period, ripping a slap shot from the slot on a pass from Cullen.
Phoenix finally showed some life midway through the second period, when Klesla flipped a backhander that sneaked under Backstrom’s right pad on a pass from Kyle Chipchura.
It didn’t last.
Raffi Torres went to the penalty box for the second time late in the period and Spurgeon scored his first goal since Jan. 14, 2012, punching in a rebound after a scrum in front to put the Wild up 4-1.
Yandle got his goal late in the third period when his attempt to pass the puck around the glass caromed sideway and bounced in off Backstrom’s skate into the net. Doan added his goal after LaBarbera left for an extra attacker, but a last-ditch flurry came up empty for the Coyotes.
NOTES: Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson dropped the ceremonial first puck. NASCAR races at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. ... Coyotes D Derek Morris returned after missing five games with an upper-body injury. ... Ryan Suter had his team-leading 12th assist on Heatley’s first goal.