Who: Minnesota Wild (12-7-1) at Arizona Coyotes (10-9-3)
Puck drop: 8:08 p.m. CT
Watch: FOX Sports North PLUS, FOX Sports App
The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling
The Wild’s four-game road trip continues on Friday night when it shifts south to Glendale, Arizona and the first of back-to-back games against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
The games on Friday and Saturday mark the first and second matchups of the season between the Wild and Coyotes. The two clubs are separated by just two points in the West Division standings, with the Wild currently tied for third place with 25 points, although Minnesota does have two games in hand.
The Wild enters the game Friday on a two-game losing streak following a pair of losses to the Vegas Golden Knights earlier this week. Minnesota lost 5-1 in Las Vegas on Wednesday in a game that was much closer than the final score may indicate.
Wednesday’s game was a one-goal game midway through the third period and the Wild had several chances to tie the game, one where it outshot the Golden Knights by a 37-28 margin.
Marcus Foligno scored the Wild’s lone goal in the loss, and enters the weekend riding a hot streak, having scored three goals and assisted on another over the past two.
Wild goaltender Cam Talbot started each of the two games in Vegas and was in net for nine goals against, but he certainly deserved a better fate. Kaapo Kahkonen, currently riding a personal five-game winning streak. He is likely to draw one start this weekend.
The Coyotes enter play following a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. Arizona has won three of its past five overall.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the second period, Arizona scored twice in a 13-second span to open up a two-goal lead.
Goaltender Antti Raanta finished with 40 saves on 42 shots against in the victory. With games scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Raanta as well as former Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper would each seem primed for a start.
Kuemper has started 16 of the Coyotes’ 22 games this season, posting a 6-7-2 record, a 2.41 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
Offensively, Arizona is led by forward Connor Garland, who has a team-high 13 assists and 20 points. Christian Dvorak leads the club with nine goals.
While the Wild and Coyotes are cracking the lid on their eight-game season series on Friday, the two clubs will become fast friends. Minnesota and Arizona will play a total of five times in 11 days between Friday and March 16, with the Coyotes playing three times in St. Paul beginning March 12 and concluding March 16.