If the Canucks end up finding a way to squeak into the playoffs, it would be an accomplishment of 'David versus Goliath' proportions. Fittingly, on Wednesday, it was a standout performance by a David that kept the Canucks' post-season hopes alive.
David Booth's first two-goal game in over two calendar years helped lift the Canucks to a crucial 5-2 win over the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.
With the victory, Vancouver managed to pull within four points of the eighth-place Phoenix Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter had the goals for the Wild, who failed to beat the Canucks for the first time in this year's season series and also had their franchise-high four-game win streak against Vancouver snapped.
Booth's two goals on Wednesday happened to be the first two goals of the contest scored by Vancouver. He got the Canucks on the scoreboard with just under five minutes left in the opening frame by beating Wild starting netminder Darcy Kuemper with a wrist shot that went between the legs of Minnesota blue-liner Jonathon Blum on a rush coming down the right wing.
Booth would tally his second of the night to break a 1-1 tie at 11:57 of the middle frame after jumping on an errant pass by Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon and beating Kuemper high glove side. Kassian would net the eventual game-winner with 57 seconds left in the middle stanza to chase Kuemper, who made just nine saves on 12 shots, from the game.
Daniel Sedin, who scored for the first time since December 30 against the Flyers, and Kesler would add insurance markers for the Canucks in the final frame by beating Ilya Bryzgalov on two of the seven total shots Vancouver managed to generate against the Wild back-up netminder in the period.
Eddie Lack, who wasn't terribly busy on Wednesday, finished the night with 29 saves on 31 shots for his 15th victory of the season.
The Canucks, who got a surprise boost to their lineup with the return of Alex Burrows after it was originally reported he would not join the team on the road trip due to a left thumb injury, survived a scare when Burrows was hit in the head by Niederreiter early in the second period.
Burrows would head straight to the dressing room following the hit but would return shortly after. Niederreiter was assessed only a two-minute interference penalty on the play.
The Canucks close out their short two-game road trip tomorrow night in Denver facing the Colorado Avalanche.
NOTES AND NUMBERS: Per Canucks TV host Joey Kenward (@kenwardskorner), Wednesday marked the first time the Canucks have chased a goaltender from a game since December 14 when they chased Boston's Tuukka Rask in a 6-2 win over the Bruins... Daniel Sedin's goal snapped a personal 23-game goal drought as well as a 13-game point drought. The goal was also his 799th career NHL point... The Canucks concluded their season series with the Wild with a 1-0-2 record. The teams finished tied in points earned against the other. Minnesota's two victories in the season series came by way of shootout.
LONG TIME BETWEEN TWOS: David Booth's two-goal effort was just his second in a Canucks uniform and his first since March 3, 2012 against Buffalo Sabres. Booth also has goals in back-to-back games for just the third time this season and the first time since he scored in consecutive outings against the Bruins and Wild back on December 14 and 17, respectively.
CHASING 200: With his first period scrap against Minnesota's Cody McCormick, Tom Sestito is now up to 196 penalty minutes for the season. Sestito is looking to become the first Canuck to hit the 200 penalty minute mark since Donald Brashear in 1998.99 when he finished with 209 PIMs. The year prior, Brashear set the Canucks' still-standing club record for most penalty minutes in a single season with 372.
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