GLENDALE, Ariz. - Justin Fontaine scored three goals, Niklas Backstrom stopped 39 shots and the Minnesota Wild won their fourth straight game by beating the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 on Thursday night.
Fontaine scored late in the first period, gave the Wild a two-goal lead on a power play in the third and closed out his first career hat trick with an empty-net goal.
Kyle Brodziak had a goal and an assist, Matt Cook had two assists and Backstrom won his third straight start after allowing 17 goals the previous four.
Mikkel Boedker scored for the Coyotes, who have lost three of four. As midseason games go, this was an important one for two teams who have struggled to stay in playoff position in the Western Conference.
The Wild opened the season 15-5-4, lost six straight to close out December, then opened the New Year with three straight wins, including a 2-1 shootout victory over the Kings on Tuesday.
The Coyotes got off to the second-best start in franchise history at 13-4-3, but have been inconsistent since, plagued by injuries and loose play in their own end.