Minnesota at Phoenix

Laraque's rumble sparks Coyotes win over Wild


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix trailed Minnesota by two goals when Coyotes tough guy Georges Laraque decided it was time to wake up his team.

Laraque tangled with the Wild's Derek Boogaard early in the second period, and it provided a spark that carried Phoenix to a 4-3 victory Tuesday night. The win was only the fifth in 17 games for the Coyotes, last in the Western Conference.

"We're down 2-0, and once again it looked too much like a familiar pattern," said Laraque, who signed a free agent deal with the club last summer. "Playing at home in front of our crowd, I knew that getting into a fight could get the crowd going and the bench going."

Yanic Perreault and Oleg Saprykin each scored two goals to lead the Coyotes, and Laraque and Ladislav Nagy each had two assists.

Pavol Demitra, Wes Walz and Mark Parrish each had a goal and an assist for the Northwest Division-leading Wild, who lost for the fourth time in five games.

"It was a tough loss," Wild forward Brian Rolston said. "We have to get back on the right track. We are just not playing the way that we can play. We have to play a little tighter and that goes for everybody."

Forty-seven seconds after Laraque and Boogaard dropped the gloves, Perreault scored the first of his goals to cut Minnesota's lead to 2-1.

Although the fight appeared to be a draw, Boogaard injured his leg when he fell to the ice and Laraque landed on him.

Saprykin said said the brawl "was like a battery jump."

Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky signed Laraque because he wanted to add toughness. But he's been impressed with Laraque's all-around play. Laraque has two goals and three assists in 16 games.

"We're overjoyed with Georges' production," Gretzky said.

The Coyotes tied it at 2 on Saprykin's goal later in the second period.

After Walz put the Wild up 3-2 at 7:00 of the third period, Perreault answered 43 seconds later with his second goal of the night.

The game-winner came when Saprykin corralled a rebound of his own shot and backhanded it off goaltender Manny Fernandez's shoulder and into the net at 15:41.

"I think we had a lot of character tonight," Perreault said. "This team is playing desperate right now."

The Coyotes have had a disturbing tendency of falling behind early in games, and they did it again when Minnesota jumped ahead 1-0 at 1:01 of the first period.

Demitra scooped up a turnover in the Phoenix zone and fired a wrist shot past Joseph for his fourth goal of the season.

Demitra burned the Coyotes again at 1:12 of the second period, feeding Parrish from behind the net.

Minnesota has allowed the third-fewest goals in the NHL, but the Wild couldn't make the 2-0 lead stand up.

"We had bad goals against, pretty much," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Minnesota's last bid to force overtime died when Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph stopped Demitra's wide-open shot in the final seconds.

"That was the type of game it was," Joseph said. "Fortunately, it stayed out."


  • The Wild signed assistant coaches Mike Ramsey and Mario Tremblay to multiyear contract extensions. They have been on coach Jacques Lemaire's staff since the Wild made its debut in 2000-01.
  • Minnesota was without right wing Marian Gaborik, who has missed 10 games with a groin injury.
  • Minnesota finishes its season-long five-game road trip at Nashville Thursday night.
  • Mike Comrie, Shane Doan and Jeremy Roenick lead the Coyotes with 12 career points apiece against Minnesota. Comrie (ankle) and Doan (back) were out Tuesday night.
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Georges Laraque gets the short end of this haymaker, but the Coyotes come out winners.  (AP)
Georges Laraque gets the short end of this haymaker, but the Coyotes come out winners. (AP)
Minnesota (11-6-0)1113
Phoenix  (5-12-0) «0224
Three Stars
G. Laraque

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
Y. Perreault

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
O. Saprykin

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
01:01Pavol Demitra (4), Slap Shot - Assist: Wes Walz
01:12Mark Parrish (4), Wrist Shot - Assists: Pavol Demitra, Martin Skoula
03:20Yanic Perreault (2), Wrist Shot - Assists: Ladislav Nagy, Matt Jones
12:31Oleg Saprykin (2), Backhand Shot - Assists: Georges Laraque, Mike Zigomanis
07:00Wes Walz (2), Tip-In - Assists: Mark Parrish, Kim Johnsson
07:43Yanic Perreault (3), Wrist Shot - Assists: Ladislav Nagy, Zbynek Michalek
15:41Oleg Saprykin (3), Backhand Shot - Assist: Georges Laraque
Penalty Summary
17:51Skoula: Hooking - 2 min.
02:33Boogaard: Fighting - 5 min.
02:33Laraque: Fighting - 5 min.
03:53Walz: High sticking - 2 min.
03:53Walz: High sticking - 2 min.
06:45Johnsson: Hooking - 2 min.
16:08Smith: Tripping - 2 min.
12:23Zigomanis: Interference - 2 min.
16:49Lisin: Interference - 2 min.
Manny Fernandez59:19304
Curtis Joseph59:53263
Attendance - 12002
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Gord Dwyer, Don Van Massenhoven
Line Judges - Mike Cvik, Pierre Racicot
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