Familiar names send Wild to familiar result: Another loss

In the past, the Wild would have benefited from strong performances by Nick Bjugstad, Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker.

On Saturday, that's what led to the team's downfall.

The trio of former Wild players had their fingerprints all over a 6-0 dusting by the Coyotes in Dumba' first game at Xcel Energy Center since leaving the Wild after 10 seasons.

Bjugstad scored his second career hat trick, Zucker assisted on two of those goals and Dumba logged an effective 20 minutes to extend the Wild's funk: They've dropped four in a row and eight of their last nine games. The Wild are now five points behind Arizona in the Central Division and Western Conference wild-card race. They'll face off against the Coyotes three more times.

This latest rout (the Wild were dominated by Dallas 4-0 and 7-2 earlier in the week before blowing a two-goal lead during the third period in a 4-3 overtime loss on Friday to Philadelphia) came despite the Wild returning two key players.

Their leading scorer Kirill Kaprizov was back in action, as was their top goalie Filip Gustavsson.

Both missed the previous seven games after getting hurt Dec. 30 at Winnipeg, Gustavsson suffering a lower-body injury and Kaprizov exiting with an upper-body issue after getting cross-checked in the back.

But the Wild still struggled; during their past five regulation losses, they've been outscored 24-4. The Wild are still missing defenseman Jonas Brodin, captain Jared Spurgeon and forward Vinni Lettieri. They sent Jesper Wallstedt, who made his NHL debut while Gustavsson was on the mend, back to the minors.

The Coyotes capitalized twice on the power play in three chances, beginning when Clayton Keller set up Alex Kerfoot for a slam-dunk one-timer only 5 minutes, 7 seconds into the first period.

Bjugstad tallied his first of the night at 11:47, a one-timer after a failed clear by the Wild.

Then with 2:39 to go in the period, Bjugstad tipped a puck off Dakota Mermis' skate and into the net while Joel Eriksson Ek was in the penalty box serving a roughing penalty.

The Wild didn't fare much better in the second.

Keller wove a shot through traffic and behind Gustavsson at 1:51 before Bjugstad polished off his first hat trick since March 6, 2018, when he was with Florida. Bjugstad wired in a shot off the rush at 6:40, the Blaine native even eliciting a handful of hats from the crowd. Before this game, Bjugstad had five goals and none since Dec. 4, the former Gopher who played two seasons for the Wild snapping a 16-game drought.

Gustavsson was pulled, leaving after giving up five goals on 18 shots.

Marc-Andre Fleury had 14 stops in relief.

Soon after the change, the Wild appeared to spoil Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram's shutout bid when Pat Maroon roofed a loose puck by Ingram at 9:55. But Arizona challenged, and video review determined Maroon pushed the Coyotes' Josh Brown into Ingram, impeding Ingram's ability to make a stop.

Keller added another goal on a breakaway just 38 seconds into a third period that also included the Wild blanking on their third power play.

Ingram finished with 38 saves in his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season and sixth of his NHL career.