GLENDALE, ARIZ. – Excellent goaltending and clutch scoring are behind the Wild's success this season.
So is playing the Coyotes.
The Wild finished up the regular-season series with its West Division rival by claiming its seventh victory in eight matchups, this time rallying 4-1 in front of 3,736 Wednesday night at Gila River Arena to push the team's win streak to five games.
Overall, 14 of the Wild's 61 points — or nearly a quarter — have come at the expense of the Coyotes. The No. 3 Wild also has an eye-popping 16-point lead over No. 4 Arizona in the division.
"It's been a lot of fun playing these guys," Marcus Foligno said. "But [Wednesday] they were a lot better than we were. But we bend. We didn't break."
Cam Talbot held the Wild together, picking up 39 saves in a superb effort that secured his 12th win over his past 16 starts. His 15 career victories against Arizona are the most against any NHL team. At the other end, Darcy Kuemper had 19 stops as the Coyotes outshot the Wild 40-23.
"I knew that we'd battle back like we always do," Talbot said. "This group is extremely resilient, and that's one of our best qualities right now. I felt great from the get-go tonight. Just happy to come out of here with another big win."
The Wild couldn't reward Talbot with a lead until the third period.
Kirill Kaprizov passed Marian Gaborik to become the new franchise leader for goals in a season by a Wild rookie after scoring his 19th. Earlier in the third, Foligno buried a breakaway 4 minutes, 32 seconds in to break a 1-1 tie that the Coyotes threatened turn their way multiple times.
"[Talbot] bailed us out big time," Nico Sturm said.
Arizona had the edge in the first period, capitalizing on a choppy start by the Wild.
Shots eventually swelled to 12-1 in favor of the Coyotes, who opened the scoring at 7:38 on the power play when Christian Dvorak banked in the puck off Talbot's left leg. Arizona went 1-for-2, and the Wild power play was held goalless (0-for-1) for only the third time over the past 11 games.
The Wild didn't pull even until the second period after Kevin Fiala buried a Sturm pass with his backhand at 2:58 for his second goal in as many games.
Finally, Foligno ended the stalemate with his five-hole shot that sealed his first goal since he returned from a broken ankle last week. Foligno is on a three-game point streak, and he has 11 points in his past 12 games. His linemates Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek also extended their point streaks to three games with assists on the goal.
"I put the burners on, skated as hard as I could and shot it as hard as I could, and luckily it went in," Foligno said. "That's our bread and butter is clean breakouts and being that straight-line hockey."
History was made with 1:40 to go when Kaprizov scored on a wraparound with Kuemper out of position, his 19th goal to surpass the 18 Gaborik put up in 2000-01. This was Kaprizov's third consecutive game with a goal, and he became the first Wild rookie to record two three-game goal streaks; Gaborik and Pascal Dupuis each accomplished the feat once.
"It's undeniable that he's taken this team and moved it to the next level with his play," said Sturm, who added an empty-net goal with 12 seconds to go. "He's obviously getting targeted out there sometimes by the other team. They know that he's one of our best players."
The goal also put an exclamation point on a strong finish by the Wild, a poised response after a ragged beginning as the team tries to prepare for the most meaningful hockey of the season.
"Teams that can lock you down in the third period like we did tonight, those are usually the teams that can go far," Talbot said. "Any time that you can get a big goal in the third there and lock it down from there is a good sign for our team, and we just need to continue to build."