ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After watching their two-goal lead evaporate in about 10 minutes, the Minnesota Wild prolonged their night in the final minute of regulation against the Phoenix Coyotes, then saved it in overtime.
Minnesota jumped ahead 2-0, fell behind 3-2 in the third period but forced overtime on a goal by Ryan Suter with 54.3 seconds remaining in regulation before Mikko Koivu's game-winner at 2:43 of overtime, eight seconds after a Wild power play expired, gave the Wild a 4-3 victory.
The victory extended Minnesota's franchise-best winning streak to seven games; Phoenix has lost seven in a row (0-5-2).
“That's about as big a kick to the (groin) as you're going to get,” Coyotes goaltender Jason LaBarbera said. “I felt like we were going to win that game. I don't know what to say. We were there … I don't know.”
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett also was not pleased his team managed to earn just one point instead of two.
“We took a poor penalty in overtime, we didn't have the desperation to block a shot in the last minute or the desperation to take a passing lane away,” Tippett said. “We find ourselves in the same predicament, which is very frustrating for our group.”
Trailing 2-0 midway through the second period, the Coyotes faced a dire situation, with Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard racing in on a breakaway that would have put Phoenix in a three-goal hole. But LaBarbera made the save to keep it a two-goal game -- and give his team some momentum.
LaBarbera said he needed to pay his teammates back for an error he made earlier in the period in which Wild forward Matt Cullen whacked a LaBarbera clearing attempt out of midair and scored into an open net to make it 2-0 at 5:29.
“I needed to redeem myself after the dumb mistake on that second goal,” LaBarbera said. “I knew from that point on I had to shut the door. And the guys responded.”
For the next 29 minutes, LaBarbera did just that.
Less than a minute after LaBarbera's big save, Phoenix's Rob Klinkhammer scored a nifty goal, fighting off a body check in front of Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom to snap home his fourth goal in eight games this season.
Phoenix went ahead 1:52 into the third period after Backstrom robbed Shane Doan with a skate save on a chance in tight. The rebound squirted free to Michael Stone in the right circle, and the defenseman rifled a shot through a swarm of bodies and past a still recovering Backstrom for his third of the season.
“There were some areas of our game I thought were pretty good,” Tippett said. “In the end, we didn't do enough to win.”
Minnesota led 1-0 after one period on a goal by Torrey Mitchell and grabbed the two-goal edge on Cullen's sixth of the season early in the second.
The feeling in the Wild room after was one of relief.
“It's nice to win a hockey game when you don't play your best,” Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “But at the same time, I think our guys know we weren't at our best and we're going to have to be better.
“We had a few individuals that said we're not going to lose that game tonight.”
Backstrom made 24 saves to improve to 18-7-2. LaBarbera, playing in place of injured starter Mike Smith, stopped 33 shots.
For Suter, his third goal of the season extended a sizzling March in which the defenseman has had at least one point in all but three games. After an unusually slow start to the season, especially in his own zone, his plus-2 effort Wednesday made him a plus player for the first time this season. His 27 points are second among all NHL defensemen.
The Coyotes continue their three-game road trip Thursday against the Nashville Predators before finishing their trip Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.
FIVE FOR PHOENIX
1. Center Boyd Gordon scored his first goal of the season to end a 34-game goal-scoring drought over the past two regular seasons. Gordon last scored a goal on April 3, 2012 vs. Columbus. He also notched an assist for his firth multi-point game of the season and the 14th of his NHL career.
2. Forward Rob Klinkhammer scored his fourth goal of the season in just his eighth game. He also notched an assist to record the first multi-point game of his NHL career.
3. Forward David Moss notched two assists and fought Minnesota’s Zenon Konopka in the first period. It was the second multi-point game for Moss as a member of the Coyotes.
4. Forward Steve Sullivan played in his 999th NHL game. Sullivan, who left the game briefly in the second period after being hit on the chin by a skate blade, is expected to play in his 1,000th NHL game on Thursday at Nashville.
5. Forward Lauri Korpikoski missed a game for the first time this season. He's day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek and goalie Mike Smith also did not play because they are on the injured-reserve list.
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