PIC OF THE GAME
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Mikko Koivu
scored the winning goal in a shootout as the Minnesota Wild
recovered from a pair of rare blown leads in the third period to beat the Vancouver Canucks
5-4 on Thursday night.
After Trevor Linden
matched Brent Burns
' goal to keep the shootout alive, Koivu got Roberto Luongo
moving to his right, then tucked a backhand into the open net on the other side, finally ending an unexpectedly crazy finish.
“It’s hard after a loss like that, even though it’s in a shootout; These types of games, where we can make up some ground, we got to win outright,” said Trevor Linden who was the only Canuck to score in the shootout.
Minnesota also improved to 24-0-1 this season -- and 50-1-1 the past two seasons -- when leading after two periods, but it's a safe bet few came in this fashion.
and Alexander Edler
scored 16 seconds apart early in the third period to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead. Kurtis Foster
tied it on the power play and Marian Gaborik
made it 4-3 with a great individual effort 2½ minutes later, but Edler tied it again for the Canucks with 2:44 left to play.
scored the other two goals -- his first in 34 games -- and Niklas Backstrom
made 22 saves through overtime, and two of three in the shootout, as the Wild moved six points ahead of the ninth-place Canucks in the Northwest Division.
“This is a resilient bunch and we can come back to work tomorrow and have a good practice and get ready for Saturday night. Guys are obviously disappointed tonight, but that’s the amazing thing about the game you come back tomorrow and start working on a new day,” said Linden
Luongo finished with 26 saves through overtime as the Canucks failed in their bid to win consecutive games for the first time in a month, but are one point behind Colorado for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“Obviously we need to win games here, that being said though I thought our guys battled really hard. We were down by two, and then down by one with not very much time left in the third and we found a way to time the game up,” said Vigneault.
After combining for just 20 shots and one goal through the first half of the game, the two usually tight-checking teams played a wild final 30 minutes featuring seven goals, three blown leads.
“I think the first two periods were really tight and we didn’t throw enough pucks at the net, the one goal we got was from hard work and throwing pucks at the net and getting bounces,” said Captain Markus Naslund.
“I think that’s the type of games it’s going to be now, there’s so much on the line, and playing against teams like Minnesota
where you know they don’t give you much you got to try to get the puck to the net and get some bounces.”
After blowing their first lead, Foster tied it again with an unscreened power-play point shot that was deflected perfectly over Luongo by his own player. Gaborik then celebrated his 26th birthday with his 30th goal, cutting between Willie Mitchell
and Sami Salo
in the slot off a rush and snapping a low shot past Luongo's blocker.
But Edler tied it again, sneaking down and snapping the loose puck over the glove of Backstrom after Henrik Sedin
tied up a faceoff in the Wild end.
Minnesota led 2-0 after Veilleux scored his second of the game with 7:15 left in the second period, but Brad Isbister
closed the gap with 4:23 left in the second and Burns took a roughing penalty as the period expired.
Recorded three points, scoring two goals and adding an assist with a total TOI of 28:33.
| Stephane Veilleux
Scored two goals to give his team a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Netted the initial tying goal in the third period, recording a TOI of 20:14
Kesler walked into the slot and snapped a puck over Backstrom's glove just as Burns stepped back on the ice, and Edler blew a slap shot in off the goalie's glove on the next shift to give the Canucks their first lead.
Veilleux ended a 33-game goal drought with 6:14 left in the first period after a bad pinch by Edler led to a 3-on-2 break. The puck was thrown back to Veilleux trailing the rush and he walked down the middle, faked a slap shot, deked around a challenging Luongo as he went down, and tucked it in on the backhand as three Canucks tumbled comically into the crease.
Veilleux, who had just three assists since scoring his last goal on Nov. 28, added his second goal by driving to the net and deflecting a puck off the post, off Luongo and in.
These two teams meet again in Minnesota on Tuesday, as Coach Alain Vigneault and his team look to take the final steps in turning their season around.
"We’ve gotten points in 5 of 6 games and tonight they got two fortunate bounces there, so to battle back against a team that plays so well defensively is a very positive sign, and for two periods we didn’t give that team a lot. I think we’re slowly but surely turning the corner here,” said Vigneault.
Mitchell returned after missing 10 games with a stress fracture in a vertebra. Wild D Kim Johnsson
was back after missing Tuesday's loss in Edmonton with the flu. The Canucks started the season 9-0-2 within the Northwest Division they won last season, but were 1-5-1 in the past seven coming into this game.