GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Darcy Kuemper stopped 20 shots, Martin Hanzal scored in his return to the desert and the Minnesota Wild set a franchise record with their 49th win by beating the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Saturday night.
The Wild already clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs and the victory over the Coyotes gave them a franchise-record 105 points.
Erik Haula and Eric Staal scored in the first period. Hanzal scored in the third in his first game in Arizona since being traded with Ryan White to Minnesota on Feb. 26
Brendon Perlini scored for the Coyotes and captain Shane Doan had an assist in what may be the final game of his 21-year NHL career.
Mike Smith stopped 41 shots his 312th game with the Coyotes, passing Bob Essensa for most in franchise history.
Doan contemplated retirement last season after leading the Coyotes with 28 goals, deciding over the summer to play at least one more season. Doan’s production fell off this season — six goals — but said before the final game of the season that he’s not sure if it will be the last one of his career.
Saturday’s game was No. 1,540 for Doan, tying him with John Bucyk for 14th on the NHL’s all-time list.
Arizona played without All-Star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who traveled back home following the death of his mother in Sweden. The Wild jumped on the Coyotes early without their best defenseman, scoring two goals by the midpoint of the first period.
Both came on mistakes by Smith.
On the first, Smith tried to pass it out front to Jordan Martinook in front of his own crease. Instead, Jason Pominville intercepted the puck and fed it to Haula, who one-timed it into an empty net.
Staal scored his 28th goal on a power play midway through the first period, ripping a one-timer past Smith after the Coyotes goalie reached down to recover his stick after dropping it earlier.
Perlini scored on a rebound early in the third period, but Hanzal gave the Wild a two-goal lead again a few minutes later.
NOTES: The Arizona Coyotes honored minor leaguer Craig Cunningham and had him drop the ceremonial puck before the game, five months after he collapsed on the ice before a Tucson Roadrunners game and nearly died. … Hanzal reached 20 goals for the first time in his 11-year career. … Minnesota has a 14-game points streak against Arizona (11-1-2).
Wild: Open the playoffs at home next week.
Coyotes: Will have a high draft pick in this year’s NHL draft for the second straight season.
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