The Arizona Coyotes delivered a must win shutout on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild at Gila River Arena.
Sunday’s victory came on the heels of the Friday night, last minute tie that ended in a shoot-out loss against the Colorado Avalanche and placing the Coyotes three points behind Colorado who hold the last wild card spot in the western conference.
Sunday’s 4-0 win moves the Coyotes (38-33-8) within one point from claiming the last spot.
The opening period saw the Coyotes take an early 1-0 lead at 7:48 in the first period after Coyotes forward Alex Galchenyuk scored his 18th goal of the season when Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s shot got stopped at the line.
“Keep fighting, same approach we’ve had for a month or two now. Same mentality whether there are injuries or no injuries we keep pushing keep going were still in it and, a couple games left, and we got to battle it out, “Galchenyuk said
Midway through the second period, saw the Coyotes enter the penalty kill after Richard Panik got called for goalkeeper interference.
The Coyotes increased their lead late into the second period after Minnesota native Josh Archibald scored his first goal of the game with 42 seconds left in the second period.
Darcy Kuemper delivered an immaculate one handed save with three minutes left in the game to keep the shutout going. Kuemper has continued his brilliance after pitching a 39-save shutout to shock the Minnesota Wild 4-0 in a match that was vital for both teams.
With three minutes left in the game the Wild went with an open net and the Coyotes took advantage when Josh Archibald scored his second goal of the game.
After the third goal of the game, Josh Archibald assisted Vinnie Hinostroza who scored a 4th goal with eight seconds left placing an exclamation mark on the game.
Kuemper recorded his 5th shutout of the season and second in his last three games.
Coyotes head coach, Rick Tocchet, addressed Kuemper’s remarkable performance as well as his calm resolve in 2019.
“He’s seeing the puck he looks big in the net, calm a lot of the guys are feeling off him. He’s calm in the off days, He’s calm during practice, and he’s calm during games. That exudes a lot of confidence to your players when your goalie is like that. Goalies can lift your team up and, obviously Kemps is the heartbeat of our team,” Tocchet said.
The Coyotes move within one point of the last wildcard spot and face the L.A Kings on Tuesday at Gila River arena.