Wild strike early, pin first loss on sluggish Coyotes
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Minnesota Wild jumped on a team that had played the night before, building a three-goal lead.
The Wild stumbled through a series of penalties starting late in the second period, but it's hard to argue too much with a win -- nor an undefeated start to the season.
Zach Parise had a goal and an assist, and the Wild remained undefeated by holding off the previously unbeaten Arizona Coyotes 4-3 on Thursday night.
"Most of two periods looked like the way we should be playing the game, but it's nice that we're 3-0 and still haven't played a full 60 minutes yet," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
The Wild had fresh legs after a four-day layoff between games, jumping on the tired Coyotes for the three-goal lead.
Parise and Thomas Vanek scored less than a minute apart in the first period and Mikko Koivu added a short-handed goal midway through the second. Mikael Granlund also scored in the second.
As the game got chippy, the Wild got caught up in some of the extracurricular activities, leading to a string of penalties and a comeback by the Coyotes.
Max Domi had a goal late in the second period and Michael Stone scored a 4-on-4 goal with about 5 minutes left, pulling Arizona within 4-3.
The Wild held the charging Coyotes off behind Devan Dubnyk, who stopped 18 shots for his 100th career victory. The 3-0 start is Minnesota's best since opening with four straight wins in 2008-09.
"We had a really good start to the game, but as the game went along, they got a little better and we got a little sloppier," Parise said.
Arizona came out flat after playing in Anaheim the night before and Mike Smith was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals.
The Coyotes roared back behind their young stars. Anthony Duclair scored his fourth goal in two games and Domi added an assist to go with his second-period goal. Arizona had a few good chances after Stone's goal, but came up just short to lose for the first time this season.
"We pushed a little bit in the third, but unfortunately we didn't get enough," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
The Wild opened the season with two wins and had plenty of time to rest up for the surprising Coyotes, last playing in a 3-2 home win over St. Louis on Saturday.
The Coyotes were on their second set of back-to-back games after beating Anaheim 4-0 on Wednesday.
Minnesota had the energy edge early and took advantage midway through the first period with two quick goals.
Parise scored the first, flicking a backhander past Smith on a power play after a shot by Jason Pominville bounced hard off the backboards and out front. It was the first power-play goal allowed by Arizona in 12 chances this season.
Vanek scored his 300th career goal 58 seconds later, deking a defender to the ice before squeezing a shot between Smith's shoulder and the near post.
The Wild kept rolling in the second period, going up 3-0 on a short-handed goal by Koivu, who one-timed a pass from Justin Zucker past Smith.
Arizona brought in Anders Lindback to replace Smith and finally got something going offensively when Duclair one-timed a pass from Domi past Dubnyk.
The momentum lasted 22 seconds; Arizona had another defensive breakdown and Granlund one-timed a pass from Pominville to put the Wild up 4-1.
"That was a tough one to give up right after," Tippett said.
Domi cut the lead to 4-2 with 10 seconds left in the period, beating Dubnyk between the legs after swatting a loose puck out of the air.
NOTES: Minnesota has won six straight games over the Coyotes. ... Arizona had not allowed a first-period goal this season before Minnesota scored twice. ... The game was stopped briefly in the first period when Arizona D Connor Murphy's stick got caught in the Zucker's and he couldn't get it loose. ... Coyotes C Antoine Vermette left in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return.