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Game Recap

Wild 4, Canucks 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

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Wild 4, Canucks 2
Minnesota Wild 4, Vancouver Canucks 2

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -The all-star break can’t come soon enough for the Vancouver Canucks.

Losers of five of their last six games, the Canucks needed a valiant effort Monday night against the Minnesota Wild to break out of their slump.

They got just that, but the end result still favored the opposition.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored twice and had two assists, and Niklas Backstrom made 38 saves, leading the Wild to a 4-2 victory over Vancouver and into first place in the Northwest Division.

"When we play against Minnesota this is how they look and the team who makes the fewest mistakes usually wins," said Mattias Ohlund. "We made a few more than they did tonight and they got two points."

Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu also scored as the Wild moved one point ahead of Calgary and Colorado, and two up on slumping Vancouver in the tight Northwest.

Alexandre Burrows and Taylor Pyatt scored, and Roberto Luongo stopped 22 shots for the Canucks, who have just one win and three points in their last seven games.

"I think you go through stretches in a season where you probably play not so well and you end up getting some wins, we saw that a little bit at times, and then I think we’re playing pretty well right now, but it’s not happening for us," said Trevor Linden. "It is frustrating, but at the same time we have to try to keep our spirits up and try to keep doing the right things."

Luongo, a Hart and Vezina Trophy finalist last season and near the top of most goaltending statistics this season, has given up three of more goals in five of his last six starts.

"Listen, I'm trying to do the best I can out there," he said. "I'm a human being like everyone else. It's hard to be on top of you re A-game for 82 games. Obviously I gave up some bad goals tonight but you can always do better."

After Backstrom made three big saves, the game changed on a big hit - or near hit - from Brent Burns that helped set up Bouchard's goal and put Minnesota up 2-1 at 12:36 of the second period.

Vancouver's Ryan Kesler was carrying the puck into the zone when he spotted Burns bearing down and ducked, catching the defenseman's stick across his face.

With the crowd screaming for a penalty, Bouchard raced off on a partial breakaway down the left side. He drew Luongo down to the ice with fake a slap shot, then wristed in his ninth goal of the season through the goalie from a sharp angle.

Bouchard set up Rolston less than three minutes earlier to make it 1-0, coming out from behind the net with a shot that hit a body in front. Rolston grabbed the rebound and spun in the slot before firing his first goal in 10 games past Luongo. Burrows tied it 40 seconds later, ending a 20-game goal drought on a wraparound, but it didn't take long for Bouchard to restore the lead.

He helped double it with a 3-on-2 pass that Koivu converted for an insurance goal with 4:25 left in the third as the Wild improved to 19-0-0 when leading after two periods. Vancouver dropped to 0-17-1 when trailing after the second intermission, but Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault was optimistic with his post-game comments.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Led the Wild with two goals and two assists, setting up the game winner.
Alex Burrows
Recorded one goal and 5 shots as Vancouver’s hardest working and best forward on the night.
Taylor Pyatt
Scored a goal and was one of two players to lead all Canuck forwards with 18:43 TOT.
"Obviously our record lately is definitely in my mind not indicative of the way we’ve been playing," said Vigneault. "We’re going to make some mistakes out there, we’re going to give up some chances, but in general we’ve been out playing the opposition, out chancing them, not been able to get that timely goal to go ahead and maybe make the other team open up and getting that timely save to give us a little bit of momentum.

"You have to stick to what you believe in and I think our process and our work ethic right now is really, really good, we’re facing obviously some adversity here with the results but our guys are battling real hard."

Backstrom was good between the pipes for Minnesota early, making solid stops on a Sami Salo blast and a screened Burrows shot, and robbing Pyatt twice while the Wild were being outshot 17-6 in the first period.

Pyatt finally beat him with 28.3 seconds left and Luongo on the bench, but Bouchard scored his second of the night into the empty net 6 seconds later.

The Canucks host the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night and Markus Naslund made it clear that his team understands the importance of winning their last game before the all-star break.

"We know that there are a lot of teams pushing," said Naslund of the tight Northwest standings.  "I think the race is tighter every year, so we have to start winning again, that’s just the bottom line and we have to do it soon.

"You lose three or four games and you’re down in eighth or ninth spot so it’s a tough time now for us, but we have to respond, that’s the only way."

Notes: Wild RW Marian Gaborik had a six-game point streak snapped, ending the run with four goals and seven assists. Backstrom is 33-3-3 when he gets a lead at any point of a game the last two seasons. He is 24-0-0 leading after two periods.

scoring summary
1st Period
2nd Period
Brian Rolston (15) ASST: Pierre-Marc Bouchard (31), James Sheppard (12)
1 - 0 MIN
Alexandre Burrows (5) ASST: NONE
1 - 1 Tie
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (9) ASST: Keith Carney (4)
2 - 1 MIN
3rd Period
Mikko Koivu (7) ASST: Pierre-Marc Bouchard (32), Todd Fedoruk (4)
3 - 1 MIN
Taylor Pyatt (12) ASST: Henrik Sedin (40), Daniel Sedin (25)
3 - 2 MIN
EN - Pierre-Marc Bouchard (10) ASST: NONE
4 - 2 MIN
penalty summary
1st Period
Lukas Krajicek  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
Kurtis Foster  Interference against  Alexandre Burrows
Mikko Koivu  Hooking against  Matt Cooke
Aaron Miller  Hi-sticking against  Mark Parrish
Nick Schultz  Hi-sticking against  Brad Isbister
2nd Period
Lukas Krajicek  Holding against  Brian Rolston
3rd Period
Lukas Krajicek  Interference against  James Sheppard
Henrik Sedin  Interference against  Kurtis Foster
Mikko Koivu  Unsportsmanlike conduct
Daniel Sedin  Unsportsmanlike conduct
Pierre-Marc Bouchard  Cross checking against  Alexandre Burrows
Alexandre Burrows  Roughing against  Pierre-Marc Bouchard
goalie stats
Niklas Backstrom
Niklas Backstrom
SA: 40TOI: 59:59
Saves: 38EV: 31 - 33
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .950SH: 3 - 3
Roberto Luongo
Roberto Luongo
SA: 25TOI: 58:21
Saves: 22EV: 9 - 12
PIM: 0PP: 11 - 11
SV%: .880SH: 2 - 2