|VAN||1||1||0||1||(0 - 0)||3|
|MIN||0||2||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -The Vancouver Canucks are quite ready to refer to teammate Sami Salo as "Mr. Overtime."
The defenseman isn't sure the name fits yet.
Salo's goal 4:20 into overtime - his third extra-session goal of the season - lifted the streaking Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Vancouver, 15-3-3 since Christmas, also got goals from Daniel Sedin and Markus Naslund to move into a first-place tie with the Calgary Flames in the Northwest Division.
"It's huge to win here," said Salo, whose team was 0-3 in Minnesota. "Especially this year, we've struggled in this building."
It was the first overtime loss of the season for Minnesota, 14-1-4 in games that stretch beyond regulation. Vancouver improved to 8-1 in overtime by capitalizing on a Wild defensive mistake.
"We got caught 2-on-1 and the decision on the 2-on-1 wasn't that great, either," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.
Marian Gaborik celebrated his 25th birthday with a goal and an assist for the Wild. Pavol Demitra also scored.
Salo got the winner with only 39.6 seconds showing on the clock, finishing off a 2-on-1 break by taking a pass from Matt Cooke and flipping a backhander past goalie Niklas Backstrom.
The Canucks said there was a playoff-like atmosphere on the ice with a share of first place on the line.
"We needed our guys to be totally on top of their game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "Both teams knew it was an important game with first place up for grabs, and both teams wanted it."
The Canucks fired 17 shots at the Minnesota net in the opening period and scored the only goal of the frame during a power play. Brendan Morrison's shot from the point was headed well wide when Naslund tipped the puck past Backstrom.
The teams traded goals quickly in the second. Demitra tied the game 1-1 by firing the rebound of Martin Skoula's shot past Roberto Luongo. Vancouver needed less than 20 seconds to answer, as Henrik Sedin flipped a pretty, no-look pass from behind the Minnesota net to twin brother Daniel. Backstrom saved the initial shot, but not the rebound as Daniel Sedin scored his team-leading 24th goal.
Gaborik knotted the game at 2 later in the second, scoring his 17th goal after a pass from Demitra. For Gaborik, it was his 20th point in the 17 games he's played since missing more than two months with a groin injury. He was one overtime goal short of having a perfect birthday.
"I'd have rather come up with a win, but I guess it wasn't meant to be," Gaborik said.
Backstrom finished with 31 saves, while Luongo had 30 for the Canucks.
For Vancouver, which will host the Wild two more times in the regular season, getting a win in a divisional opponent's building was an important statement with less than two months left before the playoffs.
"I think we wanted to come in here and finally draw the line in the sand," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "We haven't been too successful in this building, and we wanted to establish that we can win a big game here."
Notes: Canucks C Jan Bulis sat out for a second consecutive game after separating his shoulder in a loss to Chicago on Feb. 7. He is expected to return to the lineup in Chicago on Friday. ... Gaborik's second-period assist was the 300th point of his NHL career. ... Wild winger Brian Rolston, the team's leading scorer, was back in the lineup after missing three games with the flu.
|PPG - Markus Naslund (19) Slapshot - ASST: Brendan Morrison (19), Sami Salo (17)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Pavol Demitra (16) Slapshot - ASST: Martin Skoula (11), Marian Gaborik (10)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Daniel Sedin (24) Slapshot - ASST: Henrik Sedin (47), Taylor Pyatt (12)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Marian Gaborik (17) Wrist shot - ASST: Pavol Demitra (27), Wes Walz (10)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Sami Salo (10) Backhand shot - ASST: Matt Cooke (9), Brendan Morrison (20)|
3 - 2 VAN
|Mikko Koivu Hooking against Brad Moran|
|Daniel Sedin Boarding against Marian Gaborik|
|Stephane Veilleux Cross checking against Josh Green|
|Stephane Veilleux Fighting (maj) against Josh Green|
|Josh Green Fighting (maj) against Stephane Veilleux|
|Mattias Ohlund Holding against Pierre-Marc Bouchard|
|Lukas Krajicek Interference against Adam Hall|
|Mattias Ohlund Hooking against Wes Walz|
|Mark Parrish Interference against Brad Moran|
|SA: 32||TOI: 64:00|
|Saves: 30||EV: 23 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .938||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 34||TOI: 64:20|
|Saves: 31||EV: 17 - 19|
|PIM: 0||PP: 11 - 12|
|SV%: .912||SH: 3 - 3|