It won’t go down as the prettiest game ever, but the Coyotes got a much needed 1-0 victory over the Wild to snap their five-game home losing streak and get their first win of the second half of the season. It was also big because it propelled Phoenix past Minnesota in the standings for the time being.
Both teams were held scoreless for the first two periods. The Coyotes had a large shot advantage over the Wild, 31-17 to precise, but Niklas Backstrom stopped every shot that he faced. Taylor Pyatt would get the only goal of the night just 2:20 into the third period. The goal would have been all for not if it weren’t for the faceoff win by Eric Belanger and the hustle by Sami Lepisto to keep the puck in the offensive zone. The goal for Pyatt was his 13th of the season.
The Coyotes had to hold a one-goal lead for the better part of the final 17 minutes, which included a big power play kill with under three minutes to go. Bryzgalov, who was playing in his 300th career game, was the star throughout the period and throughout the entire game. He stopped all 25 shots for his fourth shutout of the year and the 20th of his career. It has to be a big confidence boast for a guy that has struggled mightily in his past couple of games.
Phoenix will close out this three-game homestand on Monday night against the Avalanche. Colorado will be yet another team that the Coyotes are battling with for a playoff spot during the month of February. The puck will drop at 7:30 Arizona time.