Darcy Kuemper has three shutouts this season. The Minnesota Wild have three wins after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 2-0 Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Kuemper lowered his goals against average to 0.50 and save percentage to .980, which lead all goaltenders that have played more than one game this season in both categories. His three shutouts is also the tops in the league.
“No, definitely didn’t think about this happening,” Kuemper said when asked if he could have envisioned this type of start to the season. “It’s definitely a good feeling and pretty exciting. I’m fortunate with the way the guys are playing in front of me.”
The guys in front of him have done a very good job in the defensive zone, but the offensive zone is still a worrisome area for the Wild.
They have now scored just seven goals in four games. This season, the Wild average 4.32 goals per 60 minutes against Colorado Avalanche starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Against every other goaltender faced this season, they average 1.8 goals per 60 minutes.
After a lackluster first period by both teams, Charlie Coyle finally got a puck in the back of the net at 2:53 mark of the second period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. Coyle re-directed a pass by Jared Spurgeon over Mike Smith’s glove.
The Wild (3-2-0) extended their lead just over two and a half minutes later when Jason Pominville blasted a shot from the top of the circles past the blocker of Smith. Zach Parise set him for the just inside the blue line. Spurgeon started the rush from center ice to get his second assist of the game.
The Coyotes (2-3-1) put a rally together late in the third period, but could not get anything past Kuemper. The only one they did was disallowed because of incidental contact by B.J. Crombeen in the third period.
The Wild return to action Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Xcel Energy Center.
No. 3 – Jared Spurgeon. The Wild defenseman recorded two assists.
No. 2 – Charlie Coyle. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 1 – Darcy Kuemper. The Wild goaltender stopped 26 shots for the shutout.
Arizona………0 0 0 – 0
Minnesota……0 2 0 – 2
First Period – None. Penalties – None.
Second Period – 1, Minnesota, Coyle 2 (Spurgeon, Vanek), 2:53. 2, Minnesota, Pominville 2 (Parise, Spurgeon), 5:27. Penalties – Suter, MIN (interference), 8:28; Yandle, ARI (hooking), 12:53; Vermette, ARI (tripping), 16:01; Bench, ARI (too many men; served by Klinkhammer), 18:26.
Third Period – None. Penalties – Spurgeon, MIN (delay of game), 12:30.
Shots on goal – Arizona 9-8-9 26. Minnesota 12-10-7 29.
Goalies – Arizona, Smith (27-29). Minnesota, Kuemper (26-26). Referees – Francis Charron, Kevin Pollock. Linesmen – Brad Lazarowich, Ryan Galloway.