Until Thursday, winger Jordan Greenway had made the most impact on the Wild by being physical — a 6-6, 225-pound bulldozer who ranks second on the team in hits with 37.
So, it made sense that when Greenway finally scored it was because his body was in the right place at the right time.
“If he learns to go to the net,” coach Bruce Boudreau said, “he’s going to get a lot of them.”
A shot from defenseman Jonas Brodin caromed off Greenway’s right calf in the third period, settling a back-and-forth tug-of-war with the Coyotes 3-2 in the Wild’s favor in front of an announced crowd of 17,079 at Xcel Energy Center — an outcome that improved the team to 4-1-1 on home ice.
“Today I really had a focus on going to the net, going to the net hard, and it paid off obviously,” Greenway said.
With the score tied at 2-2, Greenway deflected in Brodin’s shot after center Joel Eriksson Ek won an offensive-zone faceoff at 12 minutes, 11 seconds. The goal was Greenway’s first since March 22 and first game-winner of his career.
“My mentality was if I kept doing the right things, eventually it’d come,” Greenway said. “I felt like lately I had been doing a lot of good things even though maybe I wasn’t producing as much as I wanted to. I’m happy I could get the first one tonight.”
Earlier in the third, winger Zach Parise broke a 1-1 tie at 5:39 on the power play — a backhander that signaled Parise’s 100th career power play point with the Wild.
Overall, the Wild went 1-for-3 on the power play while snuffing out Arizona’s three chances — including one late in the third.
But just 35 seconds after Parise’s goal, the Coyotes evened it at 2-2 when a Lawson Crouse shot slipped through goalie Devan Dubnyk.
“There wasn’t a ton of panic when they tied it up,” Parise said. “It’s never easy to score one to go ahead and then give one right back up. But that’s what we were dealt with. The game wasn’t over. It was still a tie game. We got it done.”
The Wild (7-11-1) also led after the first period, with winger Kevin Fiala burying his own rebound by goalie Antti Raanta — one of 20 shots in the period for the Wild.
Not only was that the most for a single period this season, but the tally also tied for the third-most in a first period in franchise history.
Fiala’s goal was his fourth in his last six games, a span in which he’s recorded six points. Parise earned the lone assist on the play after funneling the puck to the front of the net. Their line with captain Mikko Koivu totaled four points.
In the second, Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz intercepted a clearing attempt by Dubnyk and fed winger Conor Garland for the deposit.
That paved the way for a photo finish, and it wasn’t a surprise the Wild persevered; the third period was the team’s best on its recent 2-2 road trip through California and Arizona – regardless of the result.
“You have to kind of build on those feelings and experiences as the year goes on,” said Dubnyk, who had 27 saves compared to 31 for Raanta. “So when you do get in those spots, you believe you can do it. Usually when you believe it, it will work out.”
Eight blocked shots after Greenway’s goal certainly helped.
The final one came from — who else? — but Greenway, whose stick snapped as it interrupted a late attempt by the Coyotes.
“It was only fitting that I would jump in front of one, too,” Greenway said. “It was a good win by everyone and in order to keep winning, that’s the sacrifices I think we have to make.”