Make that seven straight wins for the Wild


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Darcy Kuemper stopped 27 shots in his first start in nearly three weeks, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 on Saturday for their seventh straight win.

Ryan Suter and Tyler Graovac both ended goal-scoring droughts of at least 13 games, and Chris Stewart and Eric Staal also scored for the Wild. Minnesota has won seven in a row for the first time since March 2013.

Kuemper started for the first time since a 5-4 loss at Vancouver on Nov. 29. The Wild, who began the day six points behind Central Division-leading Chicago, haven’t lost in regulation since and have outscored opponents 25-10 in the win streak.

Brendan Perlini ended Kuemper’s shutout bid with less than two minutes remaining, and Mike Smith made 26 saves for the Coyotes, facing several close shots and at least a couple that hit off the posts.

Stewart’s fifth goal of the season made it 3-0 at 3:24 of the third, and Staal added an empty netter with 36 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.

At one point in the second, a shot by Nino Niederreiter trickled between Smith’s pads before Connor Murphy narrowly saved it from going in.

Suter’s fifth goal of the season and first in 16 games came with 3:20 left in the first on Minnesota’s second power play on a long shot just below the blue line. Then, with 8 1/2 minutes left in the second, Graovac scored unassisted on a breakaway when his shot from the right side found its way through Smith’s pads and off his skate into the net.

It was Graovac’s first goal in 13 games and third of the season.

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