"They got a free goal, just to give them a little momentum,
just at the right time," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said after
Minnesota's 6-4 victory Saturday night.
Walz scored twice and added two assists for his first career
four-point game, but he and the Wild were more concerned about a
call on a delayed penalty.
Holding a 4-1 late in the second period, the Wild were called
for a delayed penalty. Minnesota cleared the puck out of the zone
for what Lemaire believed should have been a play-stopping whistle.
Instead, play went on and Geoff Sanderson scored a goal with a
minute left to pull the Coyotes to 4-2.
"That is not the game," Lemaire said. "The whistle should be
blown at the blue line when we move it out. Then we'd have a
different game than we had. That's what I want."
Walz said he was told by the officials that while Minnesota had
touched the puck, the Wild failed to gain control and earn a
whistle. Walz himself was sent to the penalty box for
unsportsmanlike conduct after he argued the non-call.
"I had a meltdown," he said. "Maybe the guy on our team
didn't know (he needed control.) Does he have to skate and handle
the puck for three strikes before he blows the whistle? It happens
every game. When the other team has a penalty, the other team
touches the puck and the whistle blows. What are they looking at? I
don't understand. That's why we as players get frustrated at
Marian Gaborik also scored a pair of goals, and Todd White and
Pierre-Marc Bouchard added goals to help the Wild win their second
straight following a three-game losing streak. Sanderson scored
twice, and Mike Ricci and Mike Comrie added goals for Phoenix. The
Coyotes lost for the third time in four games.
"We couldn't quite get it done again," said defenseman Keith
Ballard, who had an assist on Sanderson's disputed goal. "We
played hard. But we game them too many chances and whatever chances
we gave them were pretty quality ones. They did a good job taking
advantage of that."
The Coyotes rallied from a three-goal deficit to pull to 4-3 on
Mike Comrie's goal from the left of the crease 1:28 into the third
Bouchard made it 5-3 on a rebound off the boards behind the net
with 14:41 remaining. Sanderson's second goal 79 seconds later
again cut Minnesota's lead to one, but Walz scored his second off a
cross-crease pass from Randy Robitaille with 12:49 to put the Wild
After a scoreless first period, Walz carried the puck into the
Coyotes zone and slid the puck between Curtis Joseph's pads from
between the circles at 4:48 of the first period.
Gaborik extended the lead to 2-0 when he flipped the puck over
Joseph's shoulder from the right of the net.
Ricci pulled Phoenix to 2-1 at 11:10, jumping on the puck after
goalie Manny Fernandez whiffed on a clearing attempt and scoring
into an open net.
But White beat Joseph from the bottom of the left circle at
13:26 of the second and Gaborik scored his second at 14:13 with a
shot off the inside of Joseph's left leg to give Minnesota a 4-1
Joseph, making his sixth consecutive start for the Coyotes, was
benched at the start of the third period in favor of newly acquired
Phillipe Sauve after allowing four goals on 21 shots.
Sauve, acquired Thursday from Calgary with Steven Reinprecht,
stopped 12 of 14 shots in his Phoenix debut.
"He looked solid and stable," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky
said. "He looked good in his first game for us."
Ricci's goal was his 600th career point. ... Walz has
scored 13 of his 19 points on the road. ... Joseph has been pulled
at the start of the third period in two of his last three starts.
... Gaborik has nine goals and three assists in his last 11 games.