GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Minnesota Wild were reeling. The Phoenix Coyotes were rolling.
Then the teams met Saturday night and everything turned around.
Zach Parise scored two of Minnesota’s three third-period goals and the Wild rallied to beat the Coyotes 3-1 on Saturday night in a game with important playoff implications.
“We need to use this as a game we can kind of springboard something off of,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “We’ve had enough games where there have been some bad feelings afterward. Let’s use this as one that hopefully we can build something off of.”
Phoenix nursed a 1-0 lead through two periods on Mikkel Boedker’s early power-play goal, but the Coyotes went 24 minutes, 28 seconds without a shot.
After giving up five goals in each of its previous two games, Minnesota’s defence was outstanding with Ilya Bryzgalov in net.
Parise tied it from the top of the circle off a faceoff 8:03 into the final period, and then came Jared Spurgeon’s slap shot from the top of the right circle with 7:03 to play. Parise added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
The Coyotes would have moved ahead of Minnesota into seventh with a victory.”
“We can’t let them come out in the third and let them score two and an empty-net goal,” Boedker said. “That’s not how we do it around here, and obviously this was a good opportunity for us to jump up to seventh, but that’s the way it goes.”
The Wild pulled three points ahead of Phoenix for the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference. The Coyotes are just a point ahead of Dallas for the No. 8 spot. The Stars won at St. Louis 4-2 Saturday.
“It’s going to be like that,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “It is why you can’t get too high right now and you can’t get too low. … It’s like a playoff series. You forget the one you just played and move on whether you won or lost.”
Minnesota’s win also clinched a playoff berth for the Chicago Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Wild won for only the second time in six games and fourth time in 12 games. Phoenix, just back from a three-game trip east, lost for just the third time in eight games.
Bryzgalov, 3-0-2 as a starter since being acquired by the Wild in a trade deadline deal from Edmonton, had 21 saves for Minnesota.
“A lot of this goes to Bryz. It’s 1-0 and he makes and unbelievable glove save in the second period and keeps it at 1-0,” Yeo said. “That’s an important one.”
Thomas Greiss had 27 for Phoenix, without their usual goalie Mike Smith due to injury.
Just 2:28 into the game, Minnesota was penalized for too many men on the ice. Forty-eight seconds later, Shane Doan’s close-range shot deflected off Boedker’s leg into the net, the power-play goal giving Phoenix a quick 1-0 lead.
It was Boedker’s team-high eighth first-period goal of the season and his 19th overall.
Each team also killed a penalty in the second period.
The Coyotes didn’t get a shot from the time Doan missed with 7:49 to play in the second period until Radim Vrbada’s with 1:56 left in the game.
Minnesota finally tied it off a face off on a shot by Parise from the top of the circle and it was 1-1 with 11:57 to play. It was a set play, Parise said.
“We’ve tried that before,” he said. “It’s just never worked.”
Spurgeon’s powerful slap shot sailed past Greiss high into the net to put the Wild ahead.
Doan disputed stats on the long span without a Phoenix shot, blaming it on the scorer.
“It wasn’t that long between shots,” Doan said. “The guy just doesn’t keep track very well.”
The Wild had three penalty kills after the Coyotes’ power play goal.
Notes: The Wild won the season series 2-1 and would have the tiebreaker. … The Coyotes are 13-5-0 when Boedker scores a goal. … Minnesota didn’t have a power play until there was 5:17 left in the second period.