|Date of game: 10/23/2014
Recap: Minnesota vs. Arizona
St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Darcy Kuemper turned in another outstanding performance for the Minnesota Wild, coming up with 26 saves to lead his team to a 2-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes at Xcel Energy Center.
Kuemper recorded his third shutout in four starts this season and has now stopped 96-of-98 shots over that span.
"I'm real fortunate to have the guys playing the way they are in front of me defensively," Kuemper said. "I'm kind of reaping the benefits of that."
He was supported by goals from Charlie Coyle and Jason Pominville that got the Wild back in the win column after road setbacks to Anaheim and Los Angeles. Jared Spurgeon assisted on both markers.
Mike Smith had 27 saves in the loss, the Coyotes' third in a row.
"It was better," Smith said. "The outcome was disappointing but I definitely felt we were in the hockey game at least. That's a positive to come out of that. We're headed in the right direction."
After the teams battled through a scoreless and penalty-free first period in which both goalies were sharp, the Wild scored twice in the opening 5 1/2 minutes while dominating the early portion of the second.
Coyle broke the tie by perfectly re-directing of a Spurgeon blast into the upper right corner of the Arizona net 2:53 into the frame. Just over 2 1/2 minutes later, Pominville finished a Minnesota counterattack by beating Smith with a hard slap shot to extend the lead to 2-0.
The Coyotes appeared to have gotten on the board when Kyle Chipchura knocked in the rebound of Rob Klinkhammer's initial attempt with around three minutes elapsed in the third period. The goal was waved off, however, as B.J. Crombeen incidentally bumped Kuemper in the crease.
Kuemper was spotless from that point on, casting aside seven more Arizona shots to finish off his fifth career shutout.Game Notes
The loss was Arizona's first in regulation in Minnesota since Jan. 13, 2009.
The Coyotes had gone 6-0-2 in their last eight visits to Xcel Energy Center
... The Wild have outshot the opposition in all five of their games this
season ... The Coyotes have allowed the first goal in five of their six
contests ... Center Martin Hanzal missed a second straight game for Arizona
due to a lower-body injury.