GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Phoenix trailed Minnesota by two goals
when Coyotes tough guy Georges Laraque decided it was time to wake
up his team.
Laraque tangled with the Wild's Derek Boogaard early in the
second period, and it provided a spark that carried Phoenix to a
4-3 victory Tuesday night. The win was only the fifth in 17 games
for the Coyotes, last in the Western Conference.
"We're down 2-0, and once again it looked too much like a
familiar pattern," said Laraque, who signed a free agent deal with
the club last summer. "Playing at home in front of our crowd, I
knew that getting into a fight could get the crowd going and the
"It was a tough loss," Wild forward Brian Rolston said. "We
have to get back on the right track. We are just not playing the
way that we can play. We have to play a little tighter and that
goes for everybody."
Forty-seven seconds after Laraque and Boogaard dropped the
gloves, Perreault scored the first of his goals to cut Minnesota's
lead to 2-1.
Although the fight appeared to be a draw, Boogaard injured his
leg when he fell to the ice and Laraque landed on him.
Saprykin said said the brawl "was like a battery jump."
Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky signed Laraque because he wanted to
add toughness. But he's been impressed with Laraque's all-around
play. Laraque has two goals and three assists in 16 games.
"We're overjoyed with Georges' production," Gretzky said.
The Coyotes tied it at 2 on Saprykin's goal later in the second
After Walz put the Wild up 3-2 at 7:00 of the third period,
Perreault answered 43 seconds later with his second goal of the
The game-winner came when Saprykin corralled a rebound of his
own shot and backhanded it off goaltender Manny Fernandez's
shoulder and into the net at 15:41.
"I think we had a lot of character tonight," Perreault said.
"This team is playing desperate right now."
The Coyotes have had a disturbing tendency of falling behind
early in games, and they did it again when Minnesota jumped ahead
1-0 at 1:01 of the first period.
Demitra scooped up a turnover in the Phoenix zone and fired a
wrist shot past Joseph for his fourth goal of the season.
Demitra burned the Coyotes again at 1:12 of the second period,
feeding Parrish from behind the net.
Minnesota has allowed the third-fewest goals in the NHL, but the
Wild couldn't make the 2-0 lead stand up.
"We had bad goals against, pretty much," Wild coach Jacques
Minnesota's last bid to force overtime died when Phoenix
goaltender Curtis Joseph stopped Demitra's wide-open shot in the
"That was the type of game it was," Joseph said.
"Fortunately, it stayed out."
The Wild signed assistant coaches Mike Ramsey and Mario
Tremblay to multiyear contract extensions. They have been on coach
Jacques Lemaire's staff since the Wild made its debut in 2000-01.
... Minnesota was without right wing Marian Gaborik, who has missed
10 games with a groin injury. ... Minnesota finishes its
season-long five-game road trip at Nashville Thursday night. ...
Mike Comrie, Shane Doan and Jeremy Roenick lead the Coyotes with 12
career points apiece against Minnesota. Comrie (ankle) and Doan
(back) were out Tuesday night.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Gila River Arena Location: Glendale, Arizona
Referees: Gord Dwyer Linesmen: Mike Cvik, Pierre Racicot
Attendance: 12,002 (70.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Pavol Demitra (4)
Assist: Wes Walz
Mark Parrish (4)
Assists: Pavol Demitra, Martin Skoula
Yanic Perreault (2)
Assists: Ladislav Nagy, Matt Jones
Oleg Saprykin (2)
Assists: Georges Laraque, Mike Zigomanis
Wes Walz (2)
Assists: Mark Parrish, Kim Johnsson
Yanic Perreault (3)
Assists: Ladislav Nagy, Zbynek Michalek