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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Phoenix snaps three-game losing streak by beating Wild

ST. PAUL  --  Radim Vrbata lit the  lamp twice as the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Minnesota Wild, 3-1, at Xcel Energy Center Wednesday evening. 

Mikkel  Boedker added  the other goal and  Derek Morris had two assists in the win.  Thomas  Greiss made 28 saves  as the Coyotes snapped a three-game losing streak.  Dany Heatley notched Minnesota's only goal halfway through the third with Nino Niederreiter and Kyle Brodziak picking up the assists. Niklas Backstrom made 23 saves for Minnesota, which saw its six-game home winning streak come to an end.


Two days after blocking a shot with his foot, Wild forward Zach Parise was on the ice at yesterday's morning skate trying to see if he could skate with his teammates.  Tuesday night the Wild said Parise would miss 2-3 weeks with a foot contusion.  Parise said he wanted to get his foot into a skate and see how it felt.  Although he said it didn't feel terrible the pain was too great when trying to turn and stop.  Parise considers himself day to day.


The Wild announced prior to their game against Phoenix last night that both forward Torrey Mitchell and defenseman Keith Ballard were activated from the injured reserve.  Mitchell missed three games with a lower body injury while Ballard missed the previous nine with an upper body injury  To make room on the roster both winger Jason Zucker and goaltender Darcy Kuemper were reassigned to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League


Eight players scored in double figures led by Ty Lawson's 23 points as the Nuggets got by the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-110.  Nate Robinson added 15 points in 22 minutes off the bench.  The Nuggets improved to 8-6.  Kevin Martin's 29 points led the T'wolves and Kevin Love added 19 points and 15 rebounds.  Nikola Pekovic also recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 boards, as did Ricky Rubio with 17 points and 11 assists.  Minnesota lost its third straight and fifth in its last six games and drops to 8-9.


DeAndre Mathieu scored 17 points as the University of Minnesota men's basketball team put together a big second-half run to rally for an 83-68 decision over Chaminade in the seventh place game of the Maui Invitational.  Malik  Smith added  16 points off the  bench for the Golden Gophers (6-2), who  outscored  the  host Silverswords  by a  20-5 margin over  a span of five-plus minutes to battle back from a 59-51 deficit midway through the second half.  The  surge  enabled Minnesota to avoid  a winless showing  for the event. The Golden  Gophers were dealt losses by eighth-ranked Syracuse and Arkansas after entering the tournament having  won  five  straight under  first-year  coach Richard Pitino. Chaminade (2-3) led by as many as nine in the second half after taking a 42-37 edge  into intermission.  It was  an  eight-point differential  with under  10  minutes  to  go before the Gophers  began to assume control, with baskets from Maurice  Walker  on consecutive possessions igniting Minnesota's extended flurry.


The Minnesota Vikings enjoyed an off-day yesterday and today resume preparations for Sunday's showdown with the Chicago Bears at the Dome.  The Vikings are coming off a 26-26 overtime tie this past Sunday at Green Bay to move their record to 2-8-1.  The Bears were in St. Louis, lost 42-21 and fell to 6-5.  Currently they're deadlocked with Detroit for first place in the NFC North.


Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is being honored as the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Week.  Walsh went four-for-four on field goal attempts at Green Bay Sunday, including a 35-yard kick in overtime that tied the game at 26.  He also had a season-high five kickoff touchbacks.  This is the fourth time Walsh has received the award.  Rookie kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was named Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Packers in Week 8.


GM Rick Spielman issued a statement saying, "the fact that we have had three recent off-field situations is unacceptable and disappointing." Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson failed a breath test following a November 19th traffic stop in Eden Prairie.  He's reportedly suing the Department of Public Safety to get his license back and fighting Minnesota's implied consent law.  Wide receiver Jermone Simpson was recently cited for DWI and cornerback A.J. Jefferson was released by the team Monday after a domestic assault arrest.  The Hennepin County Attorney's Office has charged Jefferson with felony domestic assault.  The Twenty-five-year-old Jefferson is accused of assaulting his girlfriend early Monday in their Eden Prairie home.  The criminal complaint says his girlfriend awoke to Jefferson yelling at her for ignoring his text messages and prosecutors say he grabbed her around the throat.  He was released by the Vikings following his arrest.  Spielman says the organization looks at each situation and the circumstances involved to determine their actions with those players and how to best move forward.


NFC North rivals meet on Thanksgiving as the Green Bay Packers head to Detroit to take on the Lions at Ford Field  The Packers are expected to again be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is recovering from a broken collarbone suffered earlier this month.  Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn split time under center this past Sunday as the Packers played the Vikings to a 26-all tie.  Green Bay is 5-5-1, just behind 6-5 Detroit and Chicago for the division lead.  The Lions have lost back-to-back games to the Steelers and Buccaneers.  Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions in Detroit's 24-21 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.  The Lions lost 22-9 to the Packers at Lambeau back in Week 5.


The University of Minnesota football team has just one game left in the regular season and it's a trip to East Lansing for a Saturday match up against Michigan State.  The Gophers and Spartans have met 45 times and MSU leads the all-time series 28-17.  The Gophers last beat Sparty in 2009 and last beat them at Spartan Stadium in 2006.  While the Gophers are looking for their ninth win on the season, Michigan State is looking to improve on both their 10-1 record and their standings in the BCS picture.  Kick-off is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.