Found February 27, 2013 on Fox Sports Arizona:
A blown two-goal lead and a shootout loss in Edmonton. A blown late-lead in a loss in Calgary. A straight up win in Vancouver. Yeah. Thats how you pictured the Coyotes three-game trip through western Canada playing out, right? "With the people we have out, we had to come in here (Vancouver) and manufacture a win and be opportunistic on our chances," said coach Dave Tippett, referring to the absence of forwards Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal and defensemen Derek Morris and David Schlemko. "We wanted to play on our toes. Everybody knows what happened last game. We played a real good third period in Calgary until the last couple minutes, so we wanted to carry it through tonight and we were able to do that." Tuesdays 4-2 win over the Canucks help ease the digestion of collapses in Edmonton and Calgary. It also salvaged the road trip with three points in three games -- a fact that kept the Coyotes in a playoff position entering Wednesdays play. We talked recently about the need for secondary scoring. Phoenix got it on this trip. It should have been enough in Calgary, It was enough in Vancouver, with Kyle Chipchura scoring twice to total three goals for the trip and wing Paul Bissonnette notching an assist in his third straight game. "Chipper's been unbelievable of late," said Phoenix forward Mikkel Boedker, who also scored. "We need that fourth line. We're not a team that can rely on one or two guys." Phoenix also got a goal, an assist and wins on 15 of his 19 face-offs (78.9 percent) from center Antoine Vermette, one day after general manager Don Maloney singled out him and Shane Doan out as veterans from whom the Coyotes need more production. If the Coyotes can get healthy this week and get Doan and snake-bitten forward Steve Sullivan rolling, there is opportunity to make some hay now. Starting with Thursday night's game vs. Minnesota, Phoenix plays five of its next six games at home, including a bizarre, lockout-induced three-game set against Anaheim (two games in Glendale and one in southern California). If the Coyotes entertain any thoughts of defending their Pacific Division title, those three games will be vital, since the Ducks already are skating away from the pack. Despite a 5-2 loss to the Kings on Monday, Anaheim has a five-point lead over second-place Dallas with three games in hand on the Stars and two games in hand on the Coyotes, who trail by six points. THREE KEY OPPONENT STATS 2-5-1: Thats the Wilds road record this season, a far cry from their 7-2-1 home record. Six of those eight road games have been decided by one goal. 2.06: Despite the offseason additions of Ryan Suter and Zack Parise, Minnesota is averaging a league low in goals per game. That number drops even further on the road, where the Wild are averaging 1.88 (15 in eight contests). The long and short of it is this: If the Coyotes reach three goals, they have an outstanding chance of wining. Minnesota has reached three goals just once in its last six road games. 13.8 percent: Its not surprising for an offensively challenged team, but Minnesotas power play ranks 26th in the NHL. That should be good news for a Coyotes penalty-killing unit that ranks eighth, killing off 84.8 percent of opponents chances THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW Money well spent? The Wild added the two biggest free agents of the offseason in defenseman Ryan Suter and winger Zack Parise. Both signed 13-year, 98-million deals that were expected to put the Wild in the playoff hunt after missing the postseason four straight seasons. Minnesota also signed Zenon Konopka and Willie Mitchell to add toughness. Will it pay off in the long run? Entering Wednesdays play, Minnesota was one point out of the Western Conference playoff picture in a 10th-place tie with Los Angeles. Suter had no goals and 11 assists in 18 games and only recently has started to look like the player GM Chuck Fletcher expected. Parise was tied for the team-lead in points (13) with Mikko Koivu and led the club with eight goals. Picks to click: Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan has 27 points in 29 career games against the Wild; Shane Doan has 31 points in 44 games against Minnesota. Phoenix could really use some production from this pair. Sullivan is pointless in his last four games and has just two assists in his last 12 games. Doan has just two assists in his last six games and just four points (one goal) in his last 14 games. Dump and chase: Minnesota fans have been vocal about their displeasure with the Wilds system of dump and chase. Aside from the fact that most teams employ it, including last years final four, Star-Tribune beat writer Mike Russo points out that the dumping part hasnt been the problem for Minnesota: Its the chasing. The problem is the team hasnt done a consistent enough job with its forecheck to either get the puck back with proper placement or going to work once it gets the puck back behind the opposing D. It takes committed courage and effort and physicality to go get that puck and go to work with it. INJURY REPORT For the Wild, F Cal Clutterbuck (thigh contusion) is on injured reserve after an open-ice hit from Edmontons Taylor Hall that earned Hall a two-game suspension for kneeing. G Josh Harding is also on IR after experiencing sickness while taking new medications to treat multiple sclerosis. He was diagnosed with the disease in the fall. For the Coyotes, D David Schlemko (shoulder) is out indefinitely. D Derek Morris (upper body), F Radim Vrbata (lower body) and F Martin Hanzal (upper body) are day-to-day. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Same lapses have Coyotes in last, in trouble

GLENDALE, Ariz. Dont look now, but the Coyotes are in last place in the same Pacific Division they won just 11 months ago. The situation isnt dire yet, but the signs sure are. Twenty games into the season, Phoenix is committing the same mental errors it did in the first week of the season. Twenty games into the season, there is still no sign of that water-tight defense that defined...
ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME SHOT, DOC

Keith Yandle scores bizarre off-the-glass goal

I have literally never seen anything like this in all my years of watching hockey.  Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle dumped the puck in off the top of the glass and it bounced off the stanchion, skipped on the ice and then beat Minnesota Wild goalie Nick Backstrom shortside beneath his knee.  No one will ever be able to duplicate something like this ever again. Minnesota...

Paul Bissonnette gets lit up in a fight by Mike Rupp

Phoenix Coyotes enforcer Paul Bissonnette had a three-game point streak and had been playing very good hockey.  Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have a very good outing in a fight on Thursday night with Minnesota Wild’s Mike Rupp.  Rupp is far bigger than Bissonnette and his reach clearly was an advantage for him during this heavy weight tilt.  He knocked around Bissonnette...

Chipchura scores twice in Coyotes win

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Minus their top two threats, the Phoenix Coyotes have had to look elsewhere for offense. Kyle Chipchura filled that role on Tuesday night. The gritty fourth liner scored a pretty goal in the first period and added an empty-netter to clinch the victory late in regulation of Phoenix's 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. "We got a...

Paul Bissonnette is on a three-game point streak

Quick - list some players you'd expect to see on a three game point streak? Sidney Crosby! Steven Stamkos! Evgeni Malkin if he weren't concussed! I bet you left someone off of your list: Paul Bissonnette. Biznasty, as he's probably better known thanks to Twitter, probably never ever crossed your mind, did he? Shame on you -- because he has assists in three straight...

Phoenix Coyotes vs. Canucks: A howling bad performance

Coyote Ugly Not the best time of the season to be a Canucks fan right now as the wheels are starting to fall off a bit, the injuries are mounting and the city of Vancouver is once again coming to the realization that the team is not performing to the impossibly high standards the fans have set. This too shall pass, but with three days off before Saturday’s game against Los Angeles...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.