Wild
Coyotes
3 - 2 Final
  for this game

Special teams sparkle late as Wild edge Coyotes

Oct 14, 2007 - 5:56 AM
By Bob Huhn PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Coyotes found a way to score on the red-hot Niklas Backstrom. Unfortunately, they had no solution for the special teams of the Minnesota Wild.

Mikko Koivu scored a power-play goal with 6:20 remaining in the third period and Eric Belanger netted a shorthander 3:05 later as the Wild rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday.

Pavol Demitra recorded two assists for the Wild, who admittedly escaped with a fortunate win.

"Did we steal one? Definitely," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire admitted. "We were very sluggish early. We had a lack of energy, turnovers after turnovers. But we started to gain momentum just before the shorthanded goal, and we played our best hockey after that."

Backstrom, who started last season as the backup to Manny Fernandez, ended up with the best goal-against average and save percentage in the league. Minnesota traded Fernandez to Boston over the summer after signing the 29-year-old Backstrom to a two-year, $6.2 million dollar contract.

Backstrom was in goal for the Wild's first three games this season, recording two shutouts in leading Minnesota to a 3-0-0 record. He kept Phoenix off the scoreboard in the first half of the opening period of this one before being solved.

"It felt like the first period, I was selling popcorn," Backstrom said. "I was really struggling in the first period. It doesn't matter how the previous games go, you have to make adjustments and be ready for the next shots. The biggest thing is playing behind a great team. They stepped up, and then I was able to settle down."

However, after Marian Gaborik gave the Wild an early lead, Daniel Carcillo scored two quick goals against Backstrom late in the first period to put the Coyotes in front.

During a power play, defenseman Ed Jovanovski unleashed a slap shot from the left point that was stopped by Backstrom. But Carcillo chipped in the rebound with 5:09 left in the session to forge a tie.

The goal was only the third allowed by Backstrom this season. Carcillo wasted little time giving the Coyotes the lead, blasting a shot from above the right faceoff circle past Backstrom at 17:08 after receiving a pass from Niko Kapanen.

"We took it to them the first two periods, but we didn't get the result we wanted," Carcillo said. "We need to be more urgent on the power play. We have to be more disciplined in the third to win these games."

Phoenix had a chance to extend its lead with 5:16 left in the second period, but captain Shane Doan's wrist shot from the left circle hit the right goalpost.

That proved crucial as Minnesota tallied twice late in the third to emerge victorious.

"This was a heartbreaker because we played a really good hockey game against a very good hockey team," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We did a tremendous amount of good things, including good goaltending and good penalty-kill. But we took three undisciplined penalties late in the game, and two of them cost us."

With Steven Reinprecht in the penalty box for hooking, Koivu received a pass from behind the net by Pavol Demitra and fired the puck past netminder Alex Auld from the inner edge of the left circle at 13:40 to forge a tie.

"I had a few chances before but couldn't hit the net," Koivu said. "It was tight there in front of the net, with a lot of sticks. You don't have a lot of room, but I kept getting chances and one finally went in."

After Gaborik was given an extra minor for roughing at 15:02, Belanger led a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush before dishing to Stephane Veilleux, whose shot was stopped by Auld. But as defenseman Keith Ballard stood and watched, Belanger followed the play and deposited the rebound past Auld at 16:45 to give Minnesota a 3-2 edge.

"I had just gotten an elbow in the face and lost another tooth. I was mad, but that's the best way to get back at a team - score," Belanger said. "We were on a 2-on-1 and Stephane took a shot. A lot of times, you just swing (into) the corner instead of the front of the net, but I did go to the net and the puck was sitting there."

The Wild got on the scoreboard first when Demitra faked a slap shot from the left circle and passed to fellow Slovakian Gaborik, who one-timed a shot while alone in the low slot past Auld at 4:09 of the first period for his first of the season.

Backstrom, who has allowed less than three goals in 16 straight regular-season games, made 17 saves for the Wild.

Auld stopped 23 shots for Phoenix, which has lost three of four but has yet to yield more than three tallies this season.

"I feel like I'm playing well, but this was a tough one to lose," Auld said. "I think we played well but had a few letdowns, and they're the type of team that capitalizes on those."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 0 2 3
    PHOENIX 2 0 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 1 (PAVOL DEMITRA, WES WALZ) 4:09
    PHO - (PP) DANIEL CARCILLO 1 (SHANE DOAN, ED JOVANOVSKI)
    14:51
    PHO - DANIEL CARCILLO 2 (NIKO KAPANEN) 17:08
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) MIKKO KOIVU 1 (PAVOL

    Oct 14 12:32 AM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 3
    PHOENIX 2
    3RD PRD: MIN - (SH) ERIC BELANGER 2 (STEPHANE VEILLEUX) 16:45

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 14 12:24 AM
  • 18
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    RUWTbot Took away 59 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 14 12:24 AM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    PHOENIX 2
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) MIKKO KOIVU 1 (UNASSISTED) 13:40

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 14 12:18 AM
  • 77
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 14 12:18 AM
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    RUWTbot Added 32 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 14 12:18 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 0 1
    PHOENIX 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 1 (PAVOL DEMITRA, WES WALZ) 4:09
    PHO - (PP) DANIEL CARCILLO 1 (SHANE DOAN, ED JOVANOVSKI)
    14:51
    PHO - DANIEL CARCILLO 2 (NIKO KAPANEN) 17:08
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST

    Oct 13 11:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 1
    PHOENIX 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 1 (PAVOL DEMITRA, WES WALZ) 4:09
    PHO - (PP) DANIEL CARCILLO 1 (SHANE DOAN, ED JOVANOVSKI)
    14:51
    PHO - DANIEL CARCILLO 2 (NIKO KAPANEN) 17:08
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTA

    Oct 13 10:44 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    PHOENIX 2
    1ST PRD: PHO - DANIEL CARCILLO 2 (NIKO KAPANEN) 17:08

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 13 10:40 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    PHOENIX 1
    1ST PRD: PHO - (PP) DANIEL CARCILLO 1 (SHANE DOAN, ED JOVANOVSKI)
    14:51

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 13 10:34 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    PHOENIX 0
    1ST PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 1 (PAVOL DEMITRA, WES WALZ) 4:09

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 13 10:16 PM
  • 5
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    six4three Added 5 roots

    Wild vs. CoyotesOct 13 10:25 AM