Wild Breakaway: Minnesota gives up two-goal lead in desert duel
TEMPE, Ariz. — Clayton Keller's second goal of the game at 4:09 of overtime lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.
Barrett Hayton had two goals and an assist for Arizona. Keller's pair gave him a team-high 29 for the season and Brett Ritchie scored his eighth — and second in three games since being acquired from Calgary in a trade involving his brother Nick. Ritchie also had two assists. Karel Vejmelka had 30 saves.
Minnesota tied its franchise record points streak at 13 games (10-0-3). The Wild matched the team mark (12-0-1) set from Dec. 2-29, 2016. But the Wild trails Dallas by one point (85-84) in the Central Division.
The Coyotes (4-0-1) have their own points streak going, moving to five games with the win Sunday. That started after a loss to Carolina on March 3 — the day of the trading deadline which saw Arizona unload several veterans including Jakob Chychrun, Shayne Gostisbehere and Nick Bjugstad.
“We have good leadership,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said of his players. “They were old school hockey there. There was some fight, some toughness, a lot of emotion. Our guys pushed back so much, I’m really proud of them. We got down in the game and we found our way back, we fought until the end.
“The boys want to fight for each other. They don’t want to just stop. We know we’re rebuilding; we know the situation. But that doesn’t change us. We show up with a purpose.”
Keller agreed. “We traded a lot of guys away and have had quality guys come in and guys from (minor league affiliate) Tucson step up and help us out," he said.
Mats Zuccarello, Ryan Reaves, Matt Boldy and Connor Dewar had goals for Minnesota. Filip Gustavsson finished with 18 saves.
“We were a little loose (the last two games) defensively and we've got to dial it back in,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “They played hard, we played hard, there was a lot of firm hockey. They caught a little bounce at the end and we didn't.”
The Wild played their second game without injured Kirill Kaprizov, who went out Wednesday against Winnipeg with a lower-body injury and may miss the rest of the regular season. Kaprizov leads Minnesota with 39 goals.
It was a physical game from the beginning — there were four fights, with the main event coming midway through the third period when Minnesota’s Jake Middleton and Arizona’s Lawson Crouse traded several punches. That fight was prompted when the Coyotes’ Jack McBain knocked down Mats Zuccarello.
A frenetic first period featured two goals from Hayton, two fights and a rare Reaves goal.
Hayton started the scoring early, beating Gustavsson on a wrist shot from the slot 1:28 into the game.
Reaves and Arizona’s Bokondji Imama dropped the gloves at 2:59, but the fight consisted mostly of posturing and a little wrestling. They still got five minutes each. The second fight at 4:28. featured Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno and the Coyotes’ Liam O’Brien.
The Wild tied it at 5:32 on Zucccarello’s 22nd goal of the season.
Hayton scored his second of the night, and 13th of the season, on the power play 24 seconds after Frederick Gaudreau was penalized for tripping.
However, Reaves — parked in front of Vejmelka — scored his second of the season at 18:35.
Boldy broke in alone on Vejmelka and scored his 19th 1:50 into the second period to give the Wild their first lead at 3-2.
And the third fight of the night broke out less than five minutes into that period when Minnesota’s Mason Shaw and Arizona’s Connor Mackey squared off.
Dewar scored with 5:01 left in the second before Ritchie cut it to 4-3 with 1:12 left in the period.
After the raucous activity of the middle of the period, Arizona tied it up on Keller’s goal with 7:54 left.
Foligno went to the locker room early in the third period with what appeared to be a lower-body injury. He was slow to get to his feet, went slowly off the ice and slammed his stick against the boards on the way off. He did not return. ... Coyotes forwards Nick Schmaltz and Christian Fischer were both out with lower body injuries. ... Zuccarello’s goal tied him for second on the Wild with Joel Erikkson Ek with 22.
Wild: At St. Louis on Wednesday night.
Coyotes: Host Calgary on Tuesday night.