ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)Travis Boyd scored the go-ahead goal, which stood after a long review, and the last-place Arizona Coyotes beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3 on Tuesday night to slow their pursuit of home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for the Wild, who are tied with the St. Louis Blues – their first-round opponent – for second place in the Central Division. Both have 109 points, and the Wild have a game in hand.
Anton Stralman, Antoine Roussel, Jack McBain and Phil Kessel also scored for the Coyotes, who ended a 10-game skid.
”It says a lot about our leadership and the pride of that group,” said Arizona coach Andre Tourigny. ”You see the guys fighting like that at the end when it’s easy to just pack in – I’m really proud of them.”
Karel Vejmelka stopped 34 shots for the Coyotes. Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves in the loss.
Boyd, who played college hockey across the river at the University of Minnesota, redirected a shot from Shayne Gostisbehere with 9:38 remaining to give the Coyotes a 4-3 lead. The Wild challenged the play for offside, but officials ruled it a good goal after a long replay review – drawing the ire of the home crowd and Minnesota’s bench.
”The refs came over and said it was out of their hands,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. ”But it’s still frustrating because we just went back and watched it and it’s offside.”
Down 3-1 in the third, Minnesota scored two goals in 24 seconds to tie the game. Joel Eriksson Ek cut the deficit to one on a second-chance effort after grabbing the rebound from a shot by Marcus Foligno.
Not long after, it was Foligno’s turn to find the net. He poked home a rebound past Vejmelka to tie the game and send fans into a frenzy.
McBain redirected Stralman’s shot past Fleury for his first career goal against the team that selected him in the third round of the 2018 draft. McBain never ended up signing with the Wild and his rights were traded to the Coyotes in March. His goal put Arizona up 2-1.
”Obviously I was with Minnesota, but they’re an awesome franchise and they were always super good to me,” McBain said. ”I’m super happy we could get that win. That was special.”
Ryan Hartman’s 34th goal of the season put the Wild on the board in the first period. Stralman scored the equalizer for the Coyotes with 1:44 to play in the second.
Minnesota was 0 for 6 on the power play.
”Sometimes we’ve got to be a little bit more selfish and find ways to get the puck to the net and we didn’t do that,” Jordan Greenway said.
Kessel’s goal was an empty-netter with 1:19 remaining. The Wild pulled Fleury with more than two minutes left, trailing 4-3.
Minnesota’s two remaining regular-season games are both at home, with the Calgary Flames coming to Xcel Energy Center on Thursday. The Wild then host the Colorado Avalanche in the season finale.
”I would guess that nobody’s more disappointed than the players putting the skates on,” Evason said. ”We expect our character to come through and have this a one-off, and we’ve got two more hockey games.”
NOTES: With his first-period assist, forward Matt Boldy extended his Wild rookie-record point streak to 10 games. . Coyotes D Vladislav Kloyachonok was out with an upper-body injury. He is day-to-day. . Wild F Kirill Kaprizov, who turned 25 on Tuesday, had an assist on Hartman’s first-period goal for his 104th point of the season.
Coyotes: At the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
Wild: Host the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
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