The Phoenix Coyotes have had a tough stretch following a strong start. A trip to Minnesota may not help them recover.
Following another rough game defensively, the Coyotes look to end a seven-game road losing streak against the Wild on Wednesday night.
Phoenix (11-9-0) has lost five of seven after winning three straight and seven of nine. The Coyotes have given up at least four goals in each of those five defeats, including a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Though Minnesota (7-11-2) is in last place in the Northwest Division, Phoenix might have a tough time getting back on track in this contest. The Coyotes have been outscored 27-9 while losing seven straight road games - all in regulation - against the Wild, and are 2-12-0 overall in the series since the start of 2006.
Phoenix lost the last matchup between the teams 6-3 at Minnesota on Jan. 13.
A poor effort defensively hurt the Coyotes against the Lightning, who became the fourth straight Phoenix opponent to score on a power play. The Coyotes’ opponents have had 20 power-play opportunities in their last four games, converting five times.
“We’re always prepared to kill penalties but especially in the last few games it seems like we’re taking penalties early in the game,” Phoenix defenseman Adrian Aucoin(notes) said. “We’re a group that needs everyone to play well and when you go a man short and only certain guys are getting on the ice, the other guys stiffen up and it’s really hard to get a good rotation.”
Aucoin scored Monday, giving him three goals and eight assists on the season. He leads a short-handed Phoenix blueline, which is without Zbynek Michalek(notes) (lower-body injury), Kurt Sauer(notes) (upper-body injury) and Ed Jovanovski(notes) (lower-body injury).
Each player’s return is uncertain.
The Coyotes may also be without center Peter Mueller(notes), who left with 24.2 seconds remaining in the second period versus Tampa Bay after sustaining an upper-body injury. Mueller has one goal in 18 games after scoring 35 in his previous two seasons.
Minnesota has struggled offensively, averaging 2.40 goals per game. The Wild got a strong effort Sunday but lost 5-4 in a shootout with Carolina.
Left wing Robert Earl likely bought himself more time on the ice for Minnesota, scoring the first two goals of his career.
“It was pretty special,” Earl said. “It hasn’t really sunk in. I’m ultimately just glad that I was able to contribute and give us a chance to win.”
Pouliot’s status is uncertain.
The Wild played well for the most part offensively against the Hurricanes following a 3-1 loss at Washington on Friday night, but they went 0 for 3 with the man advantage and are 3 for 28 (10.7 percent) over their last eight games.