It wasn't pretty at first, but the Phoenix Coyotes rebounded from a rough start and earned a split of their two-game road trip with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
The Coyotes started off much like they did on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators. Ray Whitney earned a penalty less than a minute in for hooking. Not 30 seconds after that penalty was killed off, Vernon Fiddler received both a high-sticking penalty and unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Wild a four minute power play.
The Coyotes weathered that storm however, surrendering zero goals on either of the power plays. The only other Coyote that would spend time in the sin bin was Nolan Yonkman, after a scuffle with Martin Havlat, but it resulted in some four-on-four action.
At full strength, there's little doubt that the Coyotes were the stronger team on the ice all night. They controlled the pace for the majority of the game, and the Wild were unable to keep up with the speed of the Phoenix squad. On the night, they outshot the Wild in the first two periods, finishing with 35 for the game.
Ed Jovanovski got the scoring started, after Adrian Aucoin settled a pass from Scottie Upshall and deflected the shot off of the veteran defenseman. Upshall wasn't done getting his points for the night, though. Scottie scored the second Phoenix goal before answering a Minnesota goal with another, giving the Coyotes a 3-1 edge. The Wild made it interesting at the end, but Lauri Korpikoski's empty net goal sealed the deal for the Yotes.
Backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera got his first start since November 10th, and looked very solid between the pipes. Despite some good chances from the Wild, LaBarbera had little trouble stopping them, not surrendering a goal until later in the third period.
The win gives the Coyotes a .500 record on this quick two-game road trip. They return to Jobing.com Arena for a tilt with the Florida Panthers on Saturday.