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Wild get exactly what they deserve in 5-3 loss to Coyotes

With games against the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche left on the schedule, the Wild still control their own destiny as far as getting home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild right wing Ryan Hartman (38) eyes the goal Arizona Coyotes defenseman J.J. Moser (62) defends in the second period on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Blewett / USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PAUL — Not surprisingly, Minnesota Wild coach Dean Evason didn’t mince words after the Wild got exactly what they deserved in a 5-3 loss to the lowly Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

In the hours leading up to the game, Evason warned the Wild of overlooking the Coyotes. He didn’t care that the Wild entered the matchup on a 10-game point streak. He didn’t care that the Coyotes entered the matchup on a 10-game losing streak.

As far as Evason was concerned, the Wild still had to play their game. They did not.

“Our whole game sucked tonight,” Evason said. “We got what we deserved. We were just going through the lineup. You go through everybody and it’s hard to find a good player here tonight.”

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The most surprising part of the loss was that the Wild have been so good about not overlooking opposing teams this season.

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“It’s human nature maybe,” Evason said. “Were we surprised by it? We were disappointed by it for sure. I would guess that nobody’s more disappointed than the players putting the skates on. We expect our character to come through and have this be a one-off.”

It has to be. With games against the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche left on the schedule, the Wild still control their own destiny as far as getting home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. That would be a big boost in the series against the St. Louis Blues.

“It’ll be a good time to push and see where we’re at,” Marc-Andre Fleury said of the games against the Flames and Avalanche coming up. “Our last real test before (the playoffs) start.”

As for the loss to the Coyotes on this particular night, the Wild were very disappointed with their overall effort.

“It’s frustrating,” Joel Eriksson Ek said. “We know we can be so much better. We have to learn from this. At the same time, we know it’s playoffs coming, and we can’t let this get down too much. But we for sure are not happy with how we played.”

After Ryan Hartman put the Wild in front 1-0 in the first period, they looked like a team going for style points for most of the night, and it cost them. They finished 0 for 6 on the power play in the game, failing to net a separation goal that might’ve opened the floodgates.

Instead, the Coyotes continued to hang around, getting a goal from Anton Stralman in the second period to tie the game at 1-1, then a goal from Jack McBain in the third period to go up 2-1. Antoine Roussel added another goal in the third period to make it 3-1 in favor of the Coyotes.

That served as a wake up call for the Wild, as Eriksson Ek promptly cut the deficit to 3-2, and less than 30 seconds after that, Marcus Foligno scored to make it 3-3.

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In the end, though, former Gophers star Travis Boyd scored what proved to be the game-winner for the Coyotes, beating Marc-Andre Fleury with a redirection from the point to make it 4-3.

Thinking the play might have been offside, Evason challenged the play to no avail. He wasn’t happy with the call.

“We just went back and watched it and it’s offside,” Evason said. “I don’t know how they do their video. Our video shows that he’s offside.”

With the Wild trying to mount a comeback in the waning minutes, Phil Kessel tallied an empty-netter to finalize the score at 5-3.

“It’s not the outcome that we wanted,” Jordan Greenway said. “It’s one we’re going to — hopefully not — but one we might wished we had back.”

Related Topics: MINNESOTA WILDHOCKEY
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