Three-goal second period propels Wild past Coyotes, 5-2

In this file photo, Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason looks on from the bench in Game 2 of the Western Conference Qualification Round against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place on August 4, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images/TNS)
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Sarah McLellan Star Tribune (TNS)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Kirill Kaprizov pointed at Ryan Hartman, and Hartman pointed at Kaprizov.

Each appeared to be signaling at the player he believed scored the goal, but both were responsible for another clutch play.

After they combined on the game-winner the previous time out, Kaprizov and Hartman headlined a three-goal second period that polished off a 5-2 comeback for the Wild against the Coyotes in front of 16,239 at Xcel Energy Center for the team’s fourth straight victory.

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This is tied for the Wild’s longest win streak of the season, and its eight victories in St. Paul are tied for the most in franchise history through the first 10 home contests.

No one has scored more in the NHL than the Wild since Nov. 2, with the team’s 61 goals leading the league. The team has racked up four or more goals in 11 of its last 14 games.

Kaprizov and Hartman finished with two points apiece, with Kaprizov earning that goal in question and then later adding an assist; Hartman had two helpers.

Tied at 1, Kaprizov’s seventh goal floated through traffic — and by Hartman’s stick, hence the debate — at 7 minutes, 20 seconds of the second to give the Wild a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Jordan Greenway tallied his first goal of the season during a career-high three-point game after getting a piece of a Jon Merrill shot at 14:19 while setting a screen in front of Arizona goalie Scott Wedgewood.

Then, with 4 seconds left in the period, the Wild went up by another goal on a slapshot from Jonas Brodin.

Kaprizov and Hartman each picked up an assist on the play, continuing their prowess since getting assigned to the same line three games ago.

Since then, Kaprizov has two goals and five assists and Hartman has picked up three goals and two assists. While Kaprizov has 14 points over the last seven games, leading the NHL in points during that span, Hartman is on a season-high four-game point streak and has 14 overall during his past 13 games.

This was also Kaprizov’s fifth multi-point effort of the season and 19th of his career.

The two also rank first (Kaprizov at 25 points) and second (Hartman 18 points) on the Wild in scoring.

An assertive second period by the Wild came on the heels of the team playing catch-up in the first.

Just 5:58 after the opening puck drop, the Coyotes scored on a Clayton Keller shot against Wild backup Kaapo Kahkonen, who was making his fifth start of the season in place of No.1 Cam Talbot.

But the Wild quickly evened the score, with Joel Eriksson Ek pouncing on a loose puck at 7:06. Greenway assisted on the play and with his goal in the second, he posted his first multi-point game of the season.

The 6-foot-6 winger even helped out Kahkonen later in the first, clipping a Christian Fischer shot with his stick while Fischer was facing a mostly empty net.

Like in the first, Arizona applied quality pressure and even ate into its deficit on a bouncing shot by Anton Stralman at 5:58.

But Kahkonen fended off the Coyotes the rest of the way, turning aside 29 total shots for his third win, and Marcus Foligno delivered one more insurance marker at 7:42 into the third on a backhand shot that sealed his ninth goal and another assist for Greenway and one for Brodin.

Wedgewood had 32 stops. The Wild’s power play went 0 for 4, and Arizona was 0 for 2.

The Wild managed to continue its offensive groove despite playing with just 11 of its usual forwards.

Frederick Gaudreau was scratched after entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols and since defenseman Calen Addison was the only healthy player left on the team’s active roster, he played at wing.

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