Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 2/27/13
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
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Alabama kicker commit drills 77-yard field goal

WATCH: Texas guard destroys opponent with huge dunk

Reports: Red Sox were in on Greinke if Price fell through

Chris Webber advises Lakers to swipe Kobe's memorabilia

Five-star CB excited about Kirby Smart hire by Georgia

San Diego Padres unveil awesome new uniforms


Report: Mark Richt being recruited to run for Georgia governor

Cowboys won’t put Tony Romo on IR because of playoff hopes

What the Selection Committee taught us: Week 13

Majority of FIFA sponsors demanding independent review on reforms

Zack Greinke expected to choose between Dodgers, Giants by end of week

Reports: David Price, Red Sox agree to seven-year, $217 million contract

Mike Tomlin settles for field goal, then says you can’t settle for one

Kobe: 76ers thought I would score 81 points after hot start

Claude Julien: No animosity between Bruins, Chirelli

Report: Louisville QB Will Gardner will transfer

Report: Yasiel Puig and Don Mattingly didn’t talk at all toward end

WATCH: Roy Hibbert pushes referee during scrum

Orioles set to acquire Mark Trumbo from Mariners

Seven storylines for Week 14 of the college football season

Colin Kaepernick jerseys on sale at 49ers’ team store

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz named Big Ten Coach Of The Year

Mid-American Conference Championship preview

Lakers trying to decide which Kobe Bryant jersey number to retire

Matthew Dellavedova is becoming a better passer

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Seven storylines for Week 14 of the college football season

MAC Championship preview

Tiger Woods’ career inches closer to an end after gloomy injury update

QUIZ: Name every NCAA football national champion since 1950

Browns lose to Ravens as only the Browns know how

NCAA figures out how to invite 5-7 teams to bowls

Ranking top Heisman Trophy candidates

Have the New Orleans Saints given up?

This weekend in NFL stupid, ft. Rex Ryan

Missouri won’t accept a bowl bid at 5-7

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker