After a winless week, the Minnesota Wild have a chance to turn things around with a home game against one of the NHL’s worst teams.
The Wild look to end its longest losing streak of the season and rediscover their dominance at home when they face the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.
Minnesota (12-8-1) has dropped three in a row since a 7-5 win at Nashville on Nov. 16.
The Wild have lost two straight in regulation—both on the road—after losing at home in a shootout against Colorado last Saturday. That was the team’s first game at Xcel Energy Center since a 4-3 defeat to Nashville on Nov. 4, its first loss there after opening the season with eight straight home wins.
While Minnesota is tied atop the Northwest Division, Phoenix (7-14-0) is in last place in the Pacific. The Coyotes, though, did earn a 4-3 home win over the Wild on Nov. 14 in the only meeting this season.
Minnesota has fallen behind early in each of its last two games, losing 5-3 at Ottawa on Monday and 4-2 to Montreal on Wednesday. The Wild trailed the Canadiens 2-0 after the opening period, and allowed three first-period goals against Ottawa en route to a 4-0 deficit.
“It’s tough to come back every game and win,” said Minnesota left wing Pascal Dupuis, who scored his fourth goal Wednesday.
Wild left wing Benoit Pouliot made his NHL debut. Pouliot, the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, was recalled from Houston of the AHL on Tuesday and went pointless in 6:24 of ice time during eight shifts.
Minnesota defenseman Kurtis Foster was helped off the ice in the second period after he was struck on the right side of the head by a clearing shot off a faceoff. He did not return and his status for Friday’s game is uncertain.
Phoenix is coming off perhaps its best game of the season, beating New Jersey 3-1 on Wednesday night.
“This is one of those games which can turn this ship around,” said Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph, whose one goal allowed matched his best outing of the season.
The Coyotes played airtight defense in front of Joseph, giving up only 15 shots on goal while killing off all six penalties and allowing few scoring chances.
“We changed the way we killed penalties,” Scatchard said. “We were much more aggressive than in past games. We have been playing good hockey of late, but not showing any results.”
Mike Ricci was in the Phoenix lineup for the first time this season after being sidelined by a neck injury.