ST. PAUL, Minn. -— Radim Vrbata scored two goals and Thomas Greiss made 28 saves to lead the Phoenix Coyotes over the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Wednesday night.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Coyotes, who are 6-0-2 in their past eight games in Minnesota. The Wild have lost two straight and scored a total of one goal in that stretch.
The Wild were playing their first game without leading scorer Zach Parise, who is expected to miss 2 to 3 weeks with a foot injury suffered on Monday in St. Louis.
Minnesota’s offense was sluggish for much of the game, especially in the first period when the Wild were outshot 12-5 and fell behind 1-0.
Mikkel Boedker put the Coyotes on top with his sixth goal of the season at 8:13 of the first. He picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and started a 2-on-1 break with linemate Mike Ribeiro.
Boedker kept the puck and fired a shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom.
Vrbata doubled the lead at 3:42 of the second period when he pounced on a pass from Tim Kennedy from behind the net and snapped the puck past Backstrom for his seventh of the season.
Dany Heatley brought the Wild within a goal midway through the third period when he buried a rebound that Greiss didn’t handle cleanly.
Nino Niederreiter took a shot from the top of the slot that was tipped in front of Greiss. The puck bounced off his mask and fell to Heatley at the right post, where he got his fifth goal of the season.
But that was the closest Minnesota would get. Vrbata added an empty-net goal on a power play with 22.9 seconds left to provide the final margin.
Notes: Despite missing Parise, the Wild welcomed the return of two key players on Wednesday. D Keith Ballard had missed the past nine games with two broken ribs, while C Torrey Mitchell had missed three games with a lower-body injury. … Minnesota C Mikael Granlund, playing for the first time after missing two games with an upper-body injury, took a hard hit in his first shift and left the game.