NHL: Phoenix 4, Minnesota 2

Dec. 31, 2011 at 9:05 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Radim Vrbata scored consecutive goals in the third period Saturday, boosting the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-2 decision over Minnesota.

Vrbata's tally 4:15 into the final period came from a sharp angle to the left of Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom, breaking a 1-1 tie.

He found the net again 2 minutes later when his wraparound shot beat a diving Backstrom, and the Coyotes held on to snap a season-worst four-game losing streak.

Daymond Langkow scored an unassisted goal and Ray Whitney added an empty-netter for Phoenix.

Curtis McElhinney made 28 saves, including several point-blank shots in the final period, to pull out the victory.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored and Matt Cullen added a penalty-shot goal for Minnesota, which lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Backstrom ended with 26 stops for the Wild.

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