For better or worse, there was no way Saturday’s game between the Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild could be anything but a goaltenders duel.
Just days after the Coyotes shipped off back-up netminder Devan Dubnyk to the Wild for a third-round draft pick, they were victims of a 25-save performance by Dubnyk en route to a 3-1 loss in Minnesota.
Mike Smith performed quite admirably in his crease as well, stopping all but two of the 32 shots he faced. However, he was unable to get a win, dropping his season record to 7-19-2.
Minnesota scored the first two goals, controlling play for much of the game’s first two periods. Then the Coyotes went on their second power play of the game.
Antoine Vermette cut Minnesota’s lead in half at the 13:47 mark of the second period with his 11th goal of the season. It was all the offense Arizona would muster.
Zach Parise potted the empty-net goal for the Wild in the final minute, dropping the Coyotes to 16-24-4 on the season after a fourth consecutive loss.
The Coyotes started their long road trip with a loss. Here’s how it looked by the numbers:
Devan Dubnyk recorded his second career assist on Minnesota’s second goal. Dubnyk’s last point came on Feb. 27, 2012 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.
Fourth liner Brandon McMillan was the Coyotes’ spark plug all night. He had a game-high five shots in 11:16 of ice time.
Despite Arizona’s rough season, their power play has been a bright spot for the team. The Coyotes went 1-for-2 on Saturday night, bettering their unit to 21.7 percent for the season. That ranks seventh in the NHL and second in the Western Conference.
Saturday’s game was the first game of Arizona’s franchise-record eight-game road trip. The Coyotes do not play on home ice again until February, leaving the Valley while the NFL’s Pro Bowl and Super Bowl come to town.
Keith Yandle added to his team lead in assists with a secondary helper on Antoine Vermette’s goal. He now has 24 assists on the season, six more than the next closest Coyote (Vermette).
Vermette’s goal was his 29th point of the season. That puts him in sole possession of the Coyotes’ scoring lead 44 games into the season.
The Coyotes beat their former goaltender for the first time in his Wild career in the second period. Vermette’s goal ended Dubnyk’s shutout streak at 93:23.