NHL - Wild snap losing streak
Andrew Brunette scored two goals to help the Minnesota Wild snap a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win at the Phoenix Coyotes.
Brunette gave the Wild the lead in the first period, where Taylor Pyatt scored for Phoenix and Brent Burns answered with a wrister to put Minnesota up 2-1, then gave the visitors a two-goal advantage on a power-play at 10:50 in the third.
Pyatt pulled the Coyotes back within one with 59 seconds remaining in the game, but the Wild (12-11-4) held on to beat Phoenix (13-8-6) for the first time in six match-ups.
"I think since the last Phoenix game (a 4-2 home loss on December 1) we've been playing at a better level," Brunette said
"We just hadn't been rewarded for it. Tonight we got something out of the effort and hopefully it gives us a spark."
Goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 33 saves for Minnesota to outshine opposing netminder Ilya Bryzgalov who finished with 30 stops.
With the game tied 1-1 in the first, Phoenix had a chance to take control of the game and came close when captain Shane Doan hit the crossbar and the post before Minnesota seized the lead with 56 seconds left in the period.
A win would have tied the Coyotes with the idle Dallas Stars atop the Pacific Division but they fell short.
"We knew the first period was going to be big and they won it," Doan said. "Once they got the lead they play well in the neutral zone and they don't give you a lot of opportunities. We never got it going the way we wanted to."
The Wild's win was marred by the loss of center Matt Cullen with an aggravated groin injury after two periods.