The Coyotes had been staring down a lengthy list of issues that needed to be corrected.

Avoid an early deficit.

Defend better.

Improve the penalty kill.

After a roster shakeup that saw veteran Rusty Klesla subtracted from the blue line and rookie Connor Murphy added, the Coyotes managed to rectify all three areas in a single game, slugging out a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday in front of 18,265 to snap a three-game losing streak.

The challenge, now, is to make this type of performance stick.

“It’s been coming for awhile,” coach Dave Tippett said. “We can go back a few weeks ago, and I didn’t think we were playing well enough to win even though we were winning. We know we have to get back to playing a real tight defending game, and our offensive has been good. It hasn’t been an issue. We have to defend better, and hopefully tonight was a step in that direction.”

The Coyotes assigned Klesla to their American Hockey League affiliate earlier in the day after he cleared waivers, making room for Murphy. The demotion stings Klesla, but it’s also a message to the rest of the team that ice time has to be earned.

“It wasn’t easy (Tuesday),” winger Radim Vrbata said. “It was a surprise and shocking to probably everybody. Rusty’s a great guy, a great teammate, and he went through a lot with us. It’s sad that it happened to him but on the other hand, it’s part of the business and I think he understands that.

“With the situation we have, we have (eight) ‘D’ on one-way contract and lots of young guys playing down there. Something probably had to happen. As I said, it’s sad that it happened to him but on the other hand, that’s the business side.

“He’s a great guy, great teammate, great pro. So I think he will do everything he needs to do. Hopefully, he will be back soon with us.”

The players seemed to understand that as this was a better overall effort that enabled the Coyotes to finish 1-1 on this brief road trip. Backup Thomas Greiss, who made a scheduled start in place of No.1 Mike Smith, posted 28 saves, and Vrbata scored twice.

Greiss is now 3-0 in games he’s started this season and has allowed a combined six goals during those starts.

“He’s been real solid,” Tippett said. “He’s really earned the respect of his teammates in practice. When he gets an opportunity to play, he’s played well.”

After falling behind in their previous three games, the Coyotes grabbed the lead first this time. They were pests around Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom’s crease, tallying 12 first-period shots.

After a clearing attempt from captain Shane Doan, winger Mikkel Boedker led a two-on-one rush with center Mike Ribeiro and decided to take the shot, shooting high glove-side on Backstrom at 8:13.

“It was huge to get that first goal and play with a lead,” Vrbata said. “That’s something we obviously like and are successful with. That first one was a big one.”

Boedker now has goals in two straight games. Doan was back in the lineup after leaving the second period of Monday’s game against the Nashville Predators with a lower-body injury.

“We wouldn’t have put him in unless he said he could get through,” Tippett said. “I used him a little more sparingly in the third just to make sure he got through it. Hopefully with a couple days rest, he’ll be good to go on Saturday.”