Niederreiter, Wild dodge letdown with win over Coyotes

Published 9:07 am Friday, January 20, 2017

This time, the Minnesota Wild answered their wakeup call.

Nino Niederreiter had two power-play goals and an assist, including the go-ahead score for the Wild with 7:06 remaining in a 4-3 victory Thursday night after the Arizona Coyotes came back from a two-goal deficit.

“We weren’t happy with our first 40 minutes, but good thing about this league is you’ve got a chance to redeem yourself,” said Chris Stewart, whose breakaway deke to his backhand beat Louis Domingue late in the second period and gave the Wild a 3-1 lead.

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Jakob Chychrun’s one-timer through traffic, set up by the first of two assists for Shane Doan, was followed 30 seconds later by a post-scraping slap shot by Jamie McGinn. Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk never saw the shot after a post-faceoff loose puck, and it tied the game before the second intermission.

“Them scoring two goals late, as mad as I was, was probably good for us because it woke us up for the third period,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said.

With Doan in the penalty box for hooking, Niederreiter knocked in a nifty redirect of Mikael Granlund’s slap shot for the winner. Dubnyk stopped 20 shots for the Wild, who are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games.

“Those are the times where you need to win the special teams battles, and we lost tonight,” said Domingue, who made 21 saves.

The Coyotes, who dropped their fourth in a row, fell to 2-12-1 in their last 15 games starting with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 17.

“We’re a desperate team, and we knew we were coming in to a barn that’s tough to play in and a team that’s tough to play against,” Chychrun said, “so we had to have our energy level up.”

The Wild squandered 2-0 and 3-2 leads in a loss to New Jersey two days before that upset Boudreau because of “dumb things” done by his conference-leading team. But this so-far-slump-proof squad has taken consecutive regulation losses only once all season: Nov. 1 against Buffalo and Nov. 5 at Colorado.