MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Wild win their fourth straight game by defeating Phoenix
GLENDALE, Arizona (SportsNetwork.com) -- Justin Fontaine recorded his first career hat trick and Niklas Backstrom stopped 39 shots, as the Minnesota Wild earned their fourth straight win with a 4-1 triumph over the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
Kyle Brodziak broke a 1-1 tie with his fourth of the season 3:21 into the third period before Fontaine found the back of the net twice in the final frame to help the Wild run away with the victory.
"He's paid his dues and he's just done nothing but show up to the rink everyday and doesn't take anything for granted," Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo said of Fontaine.
Mikkel Boedker registered Phoenix's lone goal, while Mike Smith allowed three goals on 27 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost six of their last eight games.
"This was a game we knew it was going to be tight-checking and every play counts, and we didn't get it done," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said.
With the score tied 1-1 early in the third, Brodziak chipped a loose puck past a defender near the red line before skating into the right circle and rifling a wrister past the short side of Smith to make it 2-1 at 3:21.
Minnesota doubled its lead at 7:56, as Jason Pominville's chip-in from the right point appeared destined for the area behind the Phoenix net, but the puck took a strange carom off the end boards and bounced toward the front of the net, where a charging Fontaine tipped it home for a 3-1 lead.
Fontaine added an empty-netter at 18:48 to cap his hat trick.
The 26-year-old rookie opened the scoring with his ninth of the season at 18:41 of the first period, but Boedker slipped a backhander under Backstrom from the low left side with Phoenix on the power play 2:04 into the second to tie the tilt.