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: Bubba Watson's caddie owns heckler at PGA Championship

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents


U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

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

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker