Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a hockey game. So, we will give you ‘Yotes Notes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Coyotes’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Wild on March 27.
At the 14:34 mark of the second period the Coyotes found themselves trailing 2-0. Losers of six in a row and facing the conference’s hottest team, Dave Tippett’s squad didn’t quit.
Rob Klinkhammer and Boyd Gordon scored less than 3:30 apart in the second period, and the Coyotes continued to put pucks on net against Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom to start the third. The move paid off for defenseman Michael Stone. Stone put one past Backstrom less than two minutes into the final frame, and Phoenix looked poised to end its losing ways.
The Coyotes have made a habit of blowing late leads and losing in all sorts of painful ways this season, but given the circumstances heading into Wednesday’s game, their ending against Minnesota takes the cake.
With Backstrom on the bench and down 3-2, Minnesota dumped the puck behind the Coyotes’ net as the clock ticked under a minute. Phoenix was unable to take the puck off Mikko Koivu’s stick, and the Wild captain sent a beautiful pass back out to Jared Spurgeon. Spurgeon fed Ryan Suter, who calmly flicked a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle over the left shoulder of Jason LaBarbera with 55 seconds to go.
LaBarbera was screened on the play by Radim Vrbata and Derek Morris, but the Coyotes’ backup did not have a stellar night in net to begin with.
In the second period, LaBarbera failed to cleanly clear the puck in Phoenix’s zone and his pass was picked off by Matt Cullen, who easily scored on the empty net to give the Wild a 2-0 advantage.
While LaBarbera had his struggles, the Coyotes didn’t do him any favors in the extra session.
35 seconds into overtime, center Antoine Vermette was whistled for cross checking. While Phoenix killed off the penalty thanks to two huge saves by LaBarbera, moments after the conclusion of Minnesota’s power play, Koivu came in from the left side of the net and snuck one past the Coyotes netminder for the game-winning goal.
• The Coyotes haven’t lost seven straight since March 13-26, 2000.
• With the victory, the Wild extended their win streak to seven games.
• Since being called up on March 9, Rob Klinkhammer has four goals in eight games.
• In four starts this season, Jason LaBarbera is 0-4. His only win came in relief of Mike Smith on January 23.
The Coyotes will head to Nashville to take on the Predators on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. It’s the second stop for the team on a three-game road swing.