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game recap

Wild 6, Canucks 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Associated Press

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Wild 6, Canucks 2
Vancouver Canucks 2, Minnesota Wild 6

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -The Vancouver Canucks were tired and a little testy, perhaps prematurely looking ahead to the Olympic break.

Given seven power-play opportunities against their division rival, the Minnesota Wild took full advantage of the rough stuff with one of their best all-around games of the season.

Niklas Backstrom got his first win in three weeks, and the Wild scored three of their four power-play goals against Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, sending the Olympian to the bench early in a 6-2 victory on Sunday.

"If teams want to take liberties and unnecessary penalties and retaliatory penalties, that's where your power play has got to step up," Wild coach Todd Richards said.

Guillaume Latendresse, Marek Zidlicky and Andrew Brunette scored on the power play, and Kyle Brodziak added an even-strength goal for Minnesota, which had beaten Vancouver only once in nine previous meetings until winning the last two.

Cal Clutterbuck's shot off an uncovered rebound in the slot with 11:56 remaining slipped past Luongo for a 5-1 lead, prompting coach Alain Vigneault to summon backup Andrew Raycroft to finish up.

With seven of his players headed to the Olympics and the others eager to rest, Vigneault expressed disappointment in the effort.

"I don't know if it was the overall fatigue or if quite a few of our big guns had their minds somewhere else," the coach said, "but it is what it is."

Because the Olympics are in their city, the Canucks played on the road for the eighth straight game since Jan. 30 and have six consecutive road games after the break through Mar. 10. The Canucks, who got third-period goals from Mikael Samuelsson and Mason Raymond, went 4-4 with one shootout win on their first road stretch.

"I'm not ready to use that as an excuse," Luongo said. "You've got to dig deep sometimes when you're tired and find a way to win."

Luongo, who began the day ranked in the top six in the NHL in both goals against average and wins, has given up five goals four times this season - twice against the Wild.

Latendresse was happy about the Wild's win, of course, but as a fellow Canadian he noted his personal interest in Luongo's performance with the Olympics approaching and the three-time All-Star picked as one of the netminders for the Canadians.

"I hope we didn't ruin his confidence," said Latendresse, who has 12 goals in 20 home games since joining Minnesota in a trade with Montreal. With 29 points this season, he has already tied his career high.

After falling this weekend to 13th place in the Western Conference, seven points out of the final playoff spot entering this game, the Wild needed this sharp effort from their special teams.

After Luongo made a pad save of Owen Nolan's shot on the game's first power play midway through the opening period, defenseman Alexander Edler whiffed on his clearing attempt and Latendresse swooped in to punch in the rebound.

Backstrom had more help from his blue liners than Luongo. Twice, Greg Zanon stopped a shot with a full-body stretch to cover for Backstrom, who has slipped from last season's All-Star form.

Defenseman Cam Barker made his Minnesota debut and scored on a late slap shot on a power play with Raycroft in goal. The third overall pick in the 2004 draft, Barker was acquired from Chicago in a trade on Friday.

Backstrom, who missed six games with a back injury and then an illness, made 27 saves. The Wild outshot the Canucks 17-2 in the second period and did just about everything right. Richards mixed up his lines, with Brodziak moving down to play on the checking line and speedy Andrew Ebbett moving up to center Latendresse and Martin Havlat.

There was a spate of fights as usual, and the Canucks were called for 11 penalties.

"You could see that we weren't really ready to play," said defenseman Sami Salo. "They made some good plays and scored some nice goals, and we couldn't get going at any point in the game."

NOTES: The 12 players from both teams headed to the Olympics were recognized before the game as they skated to their home country's flag. Four of the eight Minnesotans on the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team also participated in the ceremonial faceoff. ... Who said these teams don't get along? Canucks equipment manager Pat O'Neill, who is fulfilling the same role for Team Canada, offered to transport the bags of the Wild's Olympians on the Canucks charter back to Vancouver to spare them some travel hassle. ... Zidlicky also notched his 31st assist, a Wild franchise record for a defenseman with 21 games to go.

scoring summary
1st Period
PPG - Guillaume Latendresse (20) ASST: Eric Belanger (22), Owen Nolan (14)
1 - 0 MIN
2nd Period
Kyle Brodziak (7) ASST: Cal Clutterbuck (6), Derek Boogaard (4)
2 - 0 MIN
PPG - Marek Zidlicky (5) ASST: Andrew Brunette (30), Mikko Koivu (39)
3 - 0 MIN
3rd Period
Mason Raymond (22) ASST: Christian Ehrhoff (19), Daniel Sedin (38)
3 - 1 MIN
PPG - Andrew Brunette (17) ASST: Mikko Koivu (40), Marek Zidlicky (31)
4 - 1 MIN
Cal Clutterbuck (12) ASST: Kyle Brodziak (19)
5 - 1 MIN
Mikael Samuelsson (21) ASST: Ryan Kesler (38), Christian Ehrhoff (20)
5 - 2 MIN
PPG - Cam Barker (5) ASST: Kyle Brodziak (20)
6 - 2 MIN
penalty summary
1st Period
Daniel Sedin  Hooking against  Greg Zanon
2nd Period
Kyle Wellwood  Slashing against  Eric Belanger
Alexandre Burrows  Roughing against  Antti Miettinen
Antti Miettinen  Roughing against  Alexandre Burrows
Aaron Rome  Roughing against  James Sheppard
Aaron Rome  Fighting (maj) against  James Sheppard
James Sheppard  Fighting (maj) against  Christian Ehrhoff
Alexander Edler  Interference against  Eric Belanger
Mikko Koivu  Slashing against  Mason Raymond
3rd Period
Darcy Hordichuk  Fighting (maj) against  Derek Boogaard
Derek Boogaard  Fighting (maj) against  Darcy Hordichuk
Darcy Hordichuk  Misconduct (10 min)
Darcy Hordichuk  Instigator against  Derek Boogaard
Alexander Edler  Interference against  Cal Clutterbuck
Ryan Kesler  Slashing against  Eric Belanger
goalie stats
Roberto Luongo
Roberto Luongo
SA: 32TOI: 47:46
Saves: 27EV: 16 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 11 - 14
SV%: .844SH: 0 - 0
Andrew Raycroft
Andrew Raycroft
SA: 9TOI: 11:56
Saves: 8EV: 6 - 6
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .889SH: 0 - 0
Niklas Backstrom
SA: 29TOI: 59:42
Saves: 27EV: 26 - 28
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 1
SV%: .931SH: 0 - 0 is the official Web site of the Minnesota Wild Hockey Club. The Minnesota Wild,, "The State of Hockey" and State of Hockey flag image are trademarks of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015  Minnesota Sports & Entertainment and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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