By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez GLENDALE --Taylor Pyatt scored the lone goal and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov earned his fourth shutout of the season to help the Coyotes snap a five-game home losing streak and defeat the Minnesota Wild, 1-0, on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.
The victory was much needed for the Coyotes, who had been outscored, 11-3, in the two games leading up to the fourth and final game of the season vs. the Wild.
Like Bryzgalov, who made 25 saves in his 300th NHL game, Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom played an outstanding match, but the one goal he allowed was all the Coyotes needed to leapfrog the Wild in the Western Conference standings.
The Coyotes (26-19-9) played with urgency and intensity for 60 minutes. Phoenix fired 41 shots at Backstrom, including 16 in the first period, and blocked 10 shots and delivered 29 hits.
Pyatt, who committed two of Phoenix’s four penalties, scored the lone goal at the 2:20 mark of the third period after Sami Lepisto slyly fed him the puck in the slot (see KEY MOMENT below).
Pyatt’s goal was Phoenix’s first since Paul Bissonnette scored in the second period of Tuesday’s 5-3 loss at San Jose – a span 132 minutes, 7 seconds. For Backstrom, it was the first goal he allowed in 157:13.
Photo by Getty Images.
Thanks to the Coyotes' recommitment to defense, the Wild (27-20-5) had only a few decent scoring opportunities. Their last came late in the third period after Lepisto was called for tripping at 16:51. Phoenix killed the penalty then kept the Wild scoreless after Backstrom was pulled in the closing minute.
“The work that’s needed hadn’t been there (in previous games),” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “So we had to refocus for a couple days here and… it’s a good first step for us tonight. That’s the way it’s going to have to be for the rest of the year. If we’re going to get results, that kind of effort has got to be there.”
Minnesota entered the game having won six of their past seven games.
Moments after a faceoff in Minnesota's zone, Coyotes defenseman Sami Lepisto took the puck away from Wild forward Martin Havlat, skated up the left wing and fed a pass to teammate Taylor Pyatt in the slot. Pyatt one-timed the pass past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom at 2:20 of the third period.
• The Coyotes' next game is Monday vs. Colorado at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7;30 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"When we go in trying to win a 1-0 game we're tough to play against. That's why we've had success on the road and staying from that is why we've struggled at home. It's as simple as that and tonight we played simple but effective."
"The last game that we played (vs. Vancouver), it was a very poor performance. Tonight we got to prove ourselves to the fans... It's been a tough stretch for us here at home... Finally the (losing) streak is over."
"You play for wins. That's the only thing that matters. We needed to have two points from here. We didn't get them. One bounce there, one bounce here and we could have tied it."
• Dec. 1, 2010: PHX 4, MIN 2
• Jan. 2, 2011: MIN 6, PHX 5 (OT)
• Dec. 9, 2010: MIN 3, PHX 2 • Feb. 5, 2011: PHX 1, MIN 0
1 - 0 PHX
Delaying Game - Puck over glass
Interference - Goalkeeper