Game preview: Wild at Phoenix

  • Updated: March 28, 2014 - 9:12 PM

wild gameday

8 P.M. at Phoenix • FSN, 100.3 FM

Preview: A Wild loss means the Coyotes leapfrog into the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Wild, 4-1 at Phoenix in its past five visits to Arizona, has lost two in a row and is 4-5-4 this month. The Coyotes are 9-4-1 this month and 7-2-1 in their past 10 games. Atypical of Phoenix, which is coached by defensive master Dave Tippett, the Coyotes have lost 21 games this season in which they have held a lead.

Players to watch: Wild G Darcy Kuemper has given up three or more goals in six of his past eight starts and has two wins in his past nine. Former Coyotes G Ilya Bryzgalov is 9-3-1 all-time vs. Phoenix with a 2.20 goals-against average. RW Justin Fontaine is expected back into the lineup after being scratched in seven of his past 12 games.

He had a hat trick at Phoenix in January. Coyotes D Keith Yandle leads NHL defensemen with 30 power-play points. Captain Shane Doane has 35 points in 48 games against the Wild and F Radim Vrbata has 13 goals and 21 points in 35 games against Minnesota.

Numbers: The Wild has allowed 13 goals on 58 shots in the past three games (1-2). … The Wild’s penalty kill has been scored on 11 times on 31 chances in the past 12 games (64.6 percent); the Coyotes have the fourth-best power play in the NHL (20.6 percent). … The Coyotes have scored first in 11 of 14 games in March.

Injuries: Wild RW Cody McCormick (cut near eye) is questionable. D Keith Ballard (groin), D Clayton Stoner (knee) and F Jason Zucker (quad) are out. Coyotes RW David Moss (undisclosed) is questionable. G Mike Smith (lower body) and D David Schlemko (foot) are out.

MICHAEL RUSSO

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