Kahkonen stops 24 shots in Wild's 5-1 win over Coyotes
By JOHN MARSHALL
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist, Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 24 shots and the Minnesota Wild jumped on the Arizona Coyotes early in a 5-1 victory Friday night.
The Wild had a lackluster performance two nights earlier in a loss to Vegas, but were all over the Coyotes from the start in the opener of the two-game series.
"We were very happy with how the guys responded and dealt with it," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "We were definitely ready from the drop of the puck tonight."
Zuccarello scored on Minnesota's second shot of the game, and Brad Hunt and Nick Bjugstad also had goals in the first period.
Jordan Greenway scored early in the second period and had an assist for the Wild. Kevin Fiala also scored, and rookie Kirill Kaprizov and Marcus Foligno had two assists each.
The Wild gave up 10 goals in a pair of losses at Vegas after winning their previous six games.
"The ability to refocus, come back against a good team here in Arizona, and to have a good first period and close it out was a step in the right direction," Wild defenseman Ian Cole said.
The Coyotes followed up a 3-2 win at Los Angeles on Wednesday night with a clunker. Arizona had numerous defensive breakdowns to dig a big hole early and came to life offensively too late.
Clayton Keller scored for Arizona and Antti Raanta had 22 saves.
"Some of our best players didn't show up. They were not good tonight," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "They know who they are and hopefully they go home, get some rest and come with a better effort."
The Wild lost 5-1 to Vegas on Wednesday night despite having nine more shots, but took advantage of their opportunities in a dominating first period against Arizona.
Zuccarello scored 4 1/2 minutes in, one-timing a pass from Kaprizov right off a faceoff win the Coyotes' end.
Hunt scored his first goal of the season late in the period on a shot from near the blue that squeezed under Raanta's stick arm. Bjugstad scored 1:09 later to make it 3-0, one-timing into an open net after Kaprizov pulled Raanta out of position and backhanded a pass from behind the goal.
Greenway took advantage of an Arizona defensive breakdown five minutes into the second period and beat Raanta between the pads on a breakaway.
"We came out OK, I thought, then we just kind of lost it," Coyotes forward Tyler Pitlick said. "We weren't working. We weren't executing the plays. We just really weren't ourselves tonight."
Keller finally got the Coyotes on the board early in the third period, one-timing a cross-ice pass from Jordan Oesterle over Kahkonen's glove.
Fiala sealed it with his seventh goal after the Coyotes turned it over in their own end.
Greenway didn't use his own stick to score on the breakaway. It was Cole's.
Greenway broke his stick during his shift and, after he missed grabbing one from the bench, was handed Cole's just before taking a stretch pass from Foligno. Even with the longer, heavier defenseman's stick - he called it a 2-by-4 in a TV interview - Greenway was able to beat Raanta with it.
"It's like 2 1/2 inches (longer) and like 50 pounds," Greenway said. "I couldn't feel it (come off the stick). I didn't know what I was going to be able to do so I tried the five-hole."
Greenway did manage to return the stick when he returned to the bench, for which Cole was grateful.
"Now that I've seen there's some goals in that stick, I really wanted it back," Cole said.
Arizona has been decent on the road, winning four of its seven games.
At home, the Coyotes are 6-6-3 despite being one of the few NHL teams to allow fans in the arena.
"Maybe guys are driving in, spending too much time in the car - I don't know what it is," Tocchet said. "There's definitely a lack of energy at home and we've got to put our finger on it."
Kaprizov leads all NHL rookies with 19 points and 13 assists. ... Keller has matched a career high with goals in three straight games. He also tied Mikkel Boedker for the fourth-longest consecutive games played streak in franchise history at 257 straight. ... Minnesota is 7-0 when Zuccarello has at least a point.
Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper is expected to start Saturday against Minnesota after missing three games with a lower-body injury.
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Updated March 6, 2021