Coyotes-Wild Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 26, 2013
As the Minnesota Wild continue their surge toward the postseason, the Phoenix Coyotes must find a way to prevent their playoff chances from slipping further away. The Wild can extend their season-high winning streak to seven games by handing the visiting Coyotes a seventh straight defeat Wednesday night. Zach Parise had two goals and an assist in Minnesota's highest-scoring game in four seasons, a 7-4 win at Dallas on Monday. The Wild (19-10-2) have outscored their last six opponents 27-14 as they continue to battle Vancouver for first place in the Northwest Division. Aiming for its first playoff berth since 2008, Minnesota last won seven in a row Nov. 28-Dec. 10, 2011. "I love the way that we're scoring goals," said coach Mike Yeo, whose team trailed three times and broke open a tie game with three straight third-period goals Monday. "There's skill involved, but it's matching our identity that we're a hard team. We're physical, we defend hard and we're going to be hard offensively with the way we get to the net and the way we wear on teams." Parise has three goals in two games and has scored six times while adding six assists in the last nine. Mikko Koivu has five goals and 11 assists during Minnesota's 11-3-0 stretch. Monday marked the third time in those 14 contests that Minnesota did not score on the power play. The Wild went 5 for 11 in the previous four games before failing on both chances against the Stars. Four victories during the Wild's six-game run have come on the road. Before returning to Dallas on Friday, they'll try for their third consecutive victory and seventh in eight games at home. "It doesn't matter where you win, you have to keep winning and we know that," Koivu told the NHL's official website. "It doesn't matter your opponent, we just have to keep getting better and try to get as many points as we can." Minnesota split the first two 2013 meetings with the Coyotes (13-15-4) - both at Phoenix and each decided by one goal. The Coyotes are 5-0-1 at Minnesota since losing seven in a row there, but they're in danger of dropping seven straight in a season for the first time since going 0-5-2 from March 13-26, 2000. Phoenix, which is four points behind the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, has been outscored 13-2 during an 0-4-1 stretch on the road. "You've got to start winning some games on the road, stop talking and do it on the ice," said center Martin Hanzal, who has no points in his last eight away from home. Hanzal scored a power-play goal, but Lauri Korpikoski failed to convert a late penalty shot in Monday's 3-2 home loss to Detroit. After being shut out in the first three games of the slide, the Coyotes dropped each of the last three by one goal. "I'm a big believer that you earn your breaks and you earn your confidence, and right now we're not doing those things," coach Dave Tippett said. Phoenix backup Jason LaBarbera made 32 saves against the Red Wings to fall to 0-4-0 with a 3.06 goals-against average as a starter in 2013. He again could start in place of Mike Smith, who suffered a head injury when he was run over by Vancouver's Alex Edler in a 2-1 loss Thursday.
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