GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s all up to the Wolves now.
The loud “Let’s go Wild” chant erupted before Friday’s game against the Coyotes as scores of Minnesota sports fans were taking in Game 2 of a Minnesota trifecta with the Vikings, Wild and Wolves all playing in sunny Arizona four days apart.
Like Thursday night’s Vikings game though, those Minnesotans left disappointed. The Wild wasn’t able to get it done, lost 2-1 as usual in overtime and now fans sticking around Phoenix better hope the Wolves don’t make this a clean sweep.
It was the Wild’s sixth loss in seven overtimes and third in the past six games overall, although the team has points in all of those (3-0-3).
Asked if he’s worried this could start taking a toll, coach Mike Yeo said, “Shame on us if it does. Through the course of the season, you have to face all kinds of different challenges and adversity. This is something that’s not going well. … We’ll try to rectify it and get better at it.”
This OT loss was different from the others. Wild players didn’t overextend their shift or lack finish.
There wasn’t enough time for that.
Sixteen seconds into overtime, Zach Parise high-sticked Brad Richardson. Eighteen seconds into Arizona’s sixth power play, this one a 4-on-3, Michael Stone’s point shot deflected off Antoine Vermette and bounced right to a wide-open Mikkel Boedker at the backdoor with a yawning cage to backhand the winner into.
Darcy Kuemper’s record fell to a weird-looking 1-0-4.
“At least we’re grinding out points,” Kuemper said. “We’re bound to start winning some of these. Like tonight, what are you supposed to do?”
Playing a Coyotes team that was returning home from allowing 24 goals on an 0-5 road trip and without No. 1 goalie Mike Smith, captain Shane Doan and second-leading scorer Martin Hanzal, the Wild wasn’t able to build on Jared Spurgeon’s goal in the second period.
Despite not allowing a shot at one point in a 22-minute span, the Wild gave up the lead off a Ryan Suter-to-Parise turnover. Not long after, Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville each clanked iron, a puck banked from Parise’s stick to Tobias Rieder. Boedker read it perfectly and exploded out of the zone.
Rieder threw the puck ahead of Boedker, and briefly Kuemper thought about beating Boedker to the puck. He got gun shy, backed into his crease, wasn’t set and Boedker, after getting the puck deep in the faceoff circle, tied the score.
“The ice was kind of bad all night, just soft because we’re in the desert here, so I expected it to die a lot sooner than it did, and he was coming with a lot of speed, so I just didn’t want to take that chance,” Kuemper said. “Looking back at it, maybe I should have.”
The Wild could never get that momentum back, something not aided by third-period penalties from Nino Niederreiter and Chris Porter.
The Wild’s power play went 0-for-4 and is now 6-for-49 in the past 15 games and 1-for-20 in the past seven. The Wild had tons of offensive-zone time but no goals on six shots.
“I think the power play was very good. Just couldn’t get one,” Parise said.
Yeo also tried to jump-start the dormant Mikko Koivu line in the second period by shuffling players on and off the line. Zucker has no points in the past nine games, Niederreiter no goals in 11 and Koivu no points in seven.
“There’s only one way out of it and that is to work,” Yeo said.