In the last eight games, the Wild gave up goals in the first five minutes of the game, but did just the opposite to the Coyotes.
Kyle Brodziak got the scoring started by redirecting a shot from Darroll Powe past Jason LaBarbera just four minutes and six seconds into the game. Powe intercepted a passing attempt by Keith Yandle at the top of the circles and fired a slap shot off the blade of Brodziak’s stick.
Steven Kampfer extended the lead with his first goal as a member of the Wild just 58 seconds later off a cross-ice pass from Matt Cullen. Kampfer fired a wrist shot off the rush with Dany Heatley heading to the net.
The Wild survived a lot of pressure from the Coyotes in the second period. But, early in the third period, the Coyotes (33-25-10) scored a pair of goals one minute and five seconds apart; both on quick shots in the slot off a pass to tie the game.
After neither team scored the remainder of regulation and overtime, the game went into a shootout. Neither team was very successful in the one-on-one situations to decide the game. The Wild improved to 7-8, while the Coyotes fell to 5-7.
The two teams managed one goal through the first three rounds. In the sudden death portion, the two teams traded goals before Matt Hackett made a save to set Heatley up for his winner.
Heatley has struggled in shootouts, but tucked a backhand between LaBarbera’s legs for his seventh goal in 34 career tries.
The Wild (29-29-10) are again facing injury issues that began with its forwards and has now spread to its defensemen and goaltenders.
Josh Harding started and was on his game; well positioned and did not allow a rebound. But, after making a save in the second period, he was a little slower than usual to get up or move side-to-side. Several minutes passed before he was removed from the game. He tried to talk his way out of the early exit, but to no avail.
If this lower body injury will keep him out for some time, the Wild are in trouble. Right now, Hackett is the only healthy goaltender in the organization in North America. The other two goaltenders eligible to play for the Wild are Darcy Kuemper, who is hurt, and Dennis Endras, who is playing in Finland.
The Wild began the game with five defensemen after Jared Spurgeon fell ill earlier in the day. His replacement, Clayton Stoner, did not play a shift. He is just returning from a serious leg injury and has had only two practices. The fifth guy, Kurtis Foster, has been dealing with a back issue, but was forced to play several shifts.
To make matters worse, Devin Setoguchi was not feeling well himself. He played several very short shifts, but finished the game an assist and huge shootout goal that extended it to a fifth round.
No. 3 – Josh Harding. Prior to getting injured, the Wild goaltender stopped all 24 shots he saw.
No. 2 – Kyle Brodziak. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 1 – Steven Kampfer. The Wild defenseman scored a goal.
Minnesota 2 0 0 0 – 3
Phoenix 0 0 2 0 – 2
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Brodziak 17 (Powe), 4:06. 2, Minnesota, Kampfer 1 (Cullen, Setoguchi), 5:04. Penalties – Kassian, Min, major (fighting), 4:53; Bissonnette, Phx, major (fighting), 4:53; Christensen, Min (tripping), 18:08.
Second Period – None. Penalties – Prosser, Min (slashing), 9:47.
Third Period – 3, Phoenix, Torres 11 (Stone), 1:40. 4, Phoenix, Korpikoski 15 (Vermette, Aucoin), 2:45. Penalties – Powe, Min (slashing), 9:04; Vermette, Phx (slashing), 9:30; Setoguchi, Min (high sticking), 17:07.
Overtime – None. Penalties – None.
Shootout – Minnesota: Christensen (goal), Cullen (saved), Brodziak (saved), Setoguchi (goal), Heatley (goal). Phoenix: Whitney (goal), Vrbata (missed), Boedker (saved), Doan (goal), Ekman-Larsson (saved).
Shots on goal – Minnesota 9-6-7-2 24. Phoenix 16-16-8-1 41.
Goalies – Minnesota, Harding (24-24), Hackett (15-17). Phoenix, LaBarbera (22-24). A – N/A. Referees – Don VanMassenhoven, Rob Martell. Linesmen – Scott Driscoll, Brian Mach.