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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 28th (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (9-7-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (9-7-3), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes were able to salvage the final game of a three-game road trip thanks to some balanced scoring. They hope that trend continues in Thursday's meeting with the Minnesota Wild.
The Coyotes picked up three points of a possible six in their swing through Western Canada, claiming a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. Kyle Chipchura led the charge with two goals, while Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette also scored.
Chipchura has logged four goals and seven points over his last nine games after failing to register a point over his first 10 games, while Boedker picked up his team-leading 13th point.
Even grinder Paul Bissonnette has been finding the stat sheet as he logged an assist for a third straight game to extend his first NHL point streak.
"We had a lot of guys raise their level tonight," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "We got a couple of big goals from Chipchura and the rest of the guys stepped up. We need a team effort every night if we want to win consistently."
Mike Smith was solid in net with 29 saves as the Coyotes improved to 7-3-2 in February despite Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal once again out of the lineup due to injury. The duo remain day-to-day.
The Coyotes begin an odd three-game homestand on Thursday as their next two games following this contest are both against the Anaheim Ducks. Phoenix will then visit Anaheim on March 6 to cap a span of three straight against the fellow Pacific Division residents.
But first the Coyotes will have to deal with the Wild, who overcame a sluggish effort on Tuesday to escape with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Calgary Flames and earn their third victory in four games.
Minnesota did not get on the board until Jason Zucker scored with 4:19 left in regulation and Zach Parise logged his eighth career overtime winner 27 seconds into the bonus frame while on the power play.
"You have to do a lot of things to be a winner and find yourself at that point," said Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo. "There's teams that have done that year after year and you have to beat them. This is what we're learning and I think this was a huge step for our club."
Niklas Backstrom stopped 20 shots and has gone 3-2-1 in his last six starts with a 1.45 goals against average and .943 save percentage.
Zucker, meanwhile, has scored two goals in four games since being recalled from the AHL on Feb. 16, while Ryan Suter had two assists in Tuesday's win to give him seven in his last eight games.
Parise scored and Backstrom made 32 saves in a 2-1 loss at Phoenix on Feb. 4. Hanzal had the winner for the Coyotes and Smith stopped 21 shots.
The win came after the Coyotes lost both of their home games versus the Wild last season and was their fourth in the past six meetings in this series overall.
02/28 10:53:15 ET