Wild Hold On To Beat Coyotes 4-3

Alexander Shun | @alexpshun

Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com

It probably should not have been as close as it was but at the end of the night, a win is a win and the Minnesota Wild will take any win, no matter the margin of victory.

Entering Thursday night's game against the Arizona Coyotes, the Wild were the top team in the Western Conference and facing the second-worst team in the NHL. That sounds like a recipe for an easy win. That was not the case.

Minnesota would wind up blowing a 3-1 lead to end the second period, leaving the teams tied 3-3. The Wild would get the tie-breaker and eventual game-winner almost 13 minutes into the final period to hold off a tough Coyotes team for their fifth win in their last six games.

Minnesota received goals from Eric Staal,  Chris Stewart and Nino Neiderreiter and goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 20 saves to pick up the win.

The win dealt the Coyotes their fourth-consecutive loss. Arizona is now 2-12-1 in their last 15 games and 0-6-1 in their last seven road games. 

"That was a hard game, especially with a hard back-to-back. We had a lot of guys play very hard," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said after the team's loss. "We could have used a couple more saves and take a couple of mistakes out of our game, but we're looking for an effort part of it, and that's the first step right now."

After blowing a two-goal lead and losing 4-3 on Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils, the Wild looked as though they were about to let another lead and another game slip away. Neiderreiter and the Minnesota power play made sure that did not happen.

Tied 1-1 in the second, Neiderreiter would tally his first goal of the game on the power play after he received a pass from Mikko Koivu in the slot and fired it five-hole on Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue to give the Wild the lead once again. After some nifty stick work by Stewart made it 3-1, the Wild appeared on their way to a win. The Coyotes would respond though.

After Stewart's goal, Arizona scored two goals in less than one minute to tie the game. Cue Neiderreiter once again.

With a little over seven minutes remaining in the game, Minnesota was on the power play once again and once again it was Neiderreiter giving the Wild the lead after the winger redirected a Mikael Granlund shot past Domingue.

"I feel like as a group our power play has been working really well," Neiderreiter said after the game Thursday. "We are jumping on loose pucks and trying to shoot pucks more often. That is a key that has helped us to be successful."

Despite the win, many Minnesota players and coaches believe that they failed to deliver their best performance Thursday, and acknowledged that they need to be better moving forward.

"We had a couple lapses and they capitalized," Staal said. "I don't care who you play against in this league, it can happen. But we found a way to get the win, which is huge in this building."

The Wild have now won 10 of their past 12 games at home and are 12-0-2 in their last 14 games against Western Conference opponents.

Perhaps more impressively, their win over the Coyotes prevented the Wild from losing back-to-back games, something they have done only once before this season.

"You certainly like being able to bounce back every night that you lost a game," Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's not going to happen all the time but you'd certainly like to make an effort of it."

Minnesota will remain at home to take on a very good Anaheim Ducks team that is 8-1-1 in the year 2017, that lone loss coming at the hands of the Wild just a few short weeks ago.

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