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Niklas Backstrom Stands Tall As Minnesota Wild Down Coyotes In Phoenix

On yet another night where the Phoenix Coyotes outplayed their opponent for the majority of the game, they still came up short, dropping a close one to the Minnesota Wild by a count of 3-2.  

The Coyotes outshot the Wild, as they have done so much in recent games, but Minnesota struck first and didn't look back. Andrew Brunette opened up the scoring on a lightning quick backhand that Ilya Bryzgalov never really had a chance to stop. Taylor Pyatt's goal leveled the score, but was followed by a Brent Burns goal to wrap up the first.

The second period may have been one of the most evenly matched periods in the NHL this season. There were no goals or penalties for either side, with the Wild outshooting the Yotes 11-10 in the period. That would mark the only period that Minny outshot Phoenix in the contest.

Andrew Brunette's second goal of the game came midway through the third, on the power play, which may have been the back breaker for the Coyotes. Minnesota gave them a pair of late chances, sending Phoenix on the power play twice in the last bit of the third, but Taylor Pyatt's second goal of the game was as close as they would get.

Despite the strong play from Pyatt, his second straight quality outing, the Coyotes ran into another goaltender that just would not let anything by him. Despite 35 shots, including 14 combined from Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata, Niklas Backstrom allowed just the pair of goals. This came as a huge surprise given the 19 he allowed in his previous four starts.

It certainly seems like the Coyotes continue to have rotten matchups in opposing goaltenders. They continue to play either a desperate team or a struggling goaltender who is looking to get back on track. In recent weeks it has happened with Pekka Rinne, Scott Clemmenssen, and on Thursday night it was Backstrom.

Though they did suffer the loss, the Coyotes continued to display their team game, with five different Yotes registering points. That group included recent call up Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who notched an assist on Pyatt's first goal. 

After yet another heart breaker, the Coyotes turn their attention to once again defending their home ice, when the division rival Dallas Stars invade Arena on Saturday.