PHX
42-27-13
MIN
35-36-11

28 SOG
24 SOG

Coyotes 4, Wild 1

Associated Press | Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 10:32 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Phoenix Coyotes have reached heights they've never seen before going back to their days in hockey-mad Canada, let alone their new era in the desert.

The Minnesota Wild have sunk to a depth that has become all too familiar in the "State of Hockey."

Taylor Pyatt scored two goals and Mike Smith made 23 saves to help the Phoenix Coyotes clinch the first division championship in franchise history with a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

Mikkel Boedker and Radim Vrbata also scored and Michal Rozsival added two assists for the Coyotes (42-27-13), who won the final five games of the regular season to leapfrog Los Angeles and San Jose for the Pacific Division title. The Coyotes had never won a division dating back to their inception as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979-80.

"For the first one in franchise history it's obviously significant," coach Dave Tippett said. "I really give the players a ton of credit. They worked hard, sometimes not under the most ideal of circumstances. They've hung in there and they are a great group willing to work hard, willing to pay the price to win."

Dany Heatley scored for the Wild, who will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Niklas Backstrom had a rough night with 24 saves on 28 shots.

"It's an empty, disappointing, embarrassing feeling that we have," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We have to use that, every one of us, as a force that drives us to be better next year."

The Coyotes will play sixth-seeded Chicago in the first round.

The Coyotes woke up Friday morning one point behind Los Angeles and San Jose in the division. They beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Friday night then took care of the Wild on Saturday night to close out an historic season for the franchise.

"It feels really special because you feel like when you get drafted by a team and brought in by a team that you have a job to do and your job is to win," said forward Shane Doan, who was drafted by the Jets in the first round in 1995 and has been with the organization his entire career. "We were able to get one banner up. It only took 17 years, that's not bad. But it's nice to have something."

The Coyotes won three of the four meetings against the Blackhawks this season, with one coming in a shootout.

The Coyotes got out quickly, jumping on the board 5:34 into the game when Wild defenseman Kris Fredheim made a lazy back-handed clearing attempt behind the net that landed right on Boedker's stick inside the right circle. Boedker pounced and easily beat Backstrom over the left shoulder for a 1-0 lead.

Phoenix made it 2-0 at 13:57 when Pyatt corralled a loose puck in the slot with his backhand, made a nifty move to get the puck on his forehand and fired a wrist shot past Backstrom.

The Wild got off to a lethargic start, with just five shots on goal in the first 33 minutes. But they picked up the pace later in the second period, getting on the board when Heatley banked the puck off Smith's leg and into the net to make it 2-1.

But before the Wild fans had settled back into their seats, Pyatt was back at it, scoring on a rebound over a sprawling Backstrom 31 seconds later.

Smith wasn't tested often by the anemic Wild offense on Saturday, but made two brilliant stops - on Jason Zucker and Devin Setoguchi - on a power play toward the end of the second period to keep the Coyotes in control.

"Tonight was a huge win for our team and obviously a huge win for our franchise," Smith said. "We're pretty pumped in here, but in the same sense we have a lot of work left to do."

Vrbata scored his 35th goal of the season on a slap shot through Backstrom's wickets from a shallow angle just over a minute into the final period to put the game on ice.

Things looked promising early in Yeo's first season, with the Wild surging out of the gates to an NHL-best 20-7-3 record. But injuries to key players Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse gutted the team's depth and ability to generate offense, and they finished the season with 166 goals, the lowest total since the lockout of 2004-05.

"We have to face it, we're not where we want to be and that has to change," Koivu said. "It's been too long that we've finished the season like this.

NOTES: Fredheim and D Chay Genoway were called up from AHL Houston for the finale to help a depleted defense that was missing Nate Prosser, who was suspended for the game after he head-butted Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers on Thursday. ... It's the first time Boedker has scored goals in back-to-back games since March 24 and 26 last season. ... Pyatt scored his first goals since Feb. 9, snapping a 17-game goal-less streak.

1st2nd3rdT
PHX
MIN
Scoring Summary
1st Period
05:34PHX Mikkel Boedker (11) Snap shot - ASST: Shane Doan (28) 1 - 0 PHX
13:57PHX Taylor Pyatt (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Boyd Gordon (15), Michal Rozsival (11) 2 - 0 PHX
2nd Period
13:53MIN Dany Heatley (24) Wrist shot - ASST: Mikko Koivu (32), Chay Genoway (1) 2 - 1 PHX
14:24PHX Taylor Pyatt (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Lauri Korpikoski (20), Michal Rozsival (12) 3 - 1 PHX
3rd Period
01:19PHX Radim Vrbata (35) Wrist shot - ASST: Ray Whitney (53), Mike Smith (2) 4 - 1 PHX
Three Stars of the Game
Taylor Pyatt
1st
Taylor Pyatt
G: 2Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 13:07
Chay Genoway
2nd
Chay Genoway
D
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 18:16
Mike Smith
3rd
Mike Smith
SA: 24TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 19-20
PIM: 0PP: 4-4
SV%: .958SH: 0-0
Penalty Summary
1st Period
05:51MIN Dany Heatley  Slashing against  Rostislav Klesla
16:12MIN Darroll Powe  Hooking against  Keith Yandle
2nd Period
17:33PHX Gilbert Brule  Tripping against  Warren Peters
3rd Period
03:07MIN Cal Clutterbuck  Unsportsmanlike conduct
06:21PHX Raffi Torres  Interference against  Chay Genoway
07:09MIN Cal Clutterbuck  Too many men/ice - bench
11:18MIN Marco Scandella  Hooking against  Lauri Korpikoski
16:43PHX Martin Hanzal  Interference against  Devin Setoguchi
19:06PHX Michal Rozsival  Holding against  Kyle Brodziak
19:23PHX Rostislav Klesla  Boarding against  Dany Heatley
19:23PHX Derek Morris  Roughing against  Mikko Koivu
19:23MIN Mikko Koivu  Roughing against  Derek Morris
shots by period
PeriodPHXMIN
1st114
2nd712
3rd108
Total2824
Team Stats
CategoryPHXMIN
Power Plays0/50/5
Hits1518
Faceoff Wins2820
Giveaways57
Takeaways412
Blocked Shots1217
Penalty Minutes1212
  • PHOENIX
  • MINNESOTA
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
3K. YandleD00-12022:05
8G. BruleC00-11212:16
11M. HanzalC0011216:36
13R. WhitneyL0111014:59
14T. PyattL2024013:07
15B. GordonC0121015:33
16R. KleslaD0010216:56
17R. VrbataR1011014:17
19S. DoanR0114018:22
22D. LangkowC00-11011:39
23Ekman-LarssonD0031022:54
26M. StoneD0013017:31
28L. KorpikoskiL0121015:25
32M. RozsivalD0231217:16
37R. TorresL00-10211:05
50A. VermetteC0013016:29
53D. MorrisD00-11221:34
89M. BoedkerL1012014:25
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
41M. Smith2324.95860:00
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
6M. ScandellaD00-21223:15
9M. KoivuC01-10223:25
10D. SetoguchiR00-24020:56
14D. PoweC0000216:12
15D. HeatleyL10-14222:06
16J. ZuckerL00-2107:49
19S. VeilleuxL0002012:46
20K. FosterD0011011:40
21K. BrodziakC0001017:42
22C. ClutterbuckR0004215:55
25N. JohnsonR00-1005:41
26E. ChristensenC00-2005:13
41J. OrtmeyerR000109:44
43W. PetersC0003012:28
44J. FalkD00-31023:33
47C. GenowayD0101018:16
59K. FredheimD00-20015:30
77T. GilbertD0000027:52
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
32N. Backstrom2428.85760:00