Vancouver
Canucks
39-33-10
Minnesota
Wild
44-28-10

28 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
VAN
MIN
game recap

Wild 4, Canucks 0

Monday, 06.18.2012 / 11:09 PM

Associated Press

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Wild 4, Canucks 0
Vancouver Canucks 0, Minnesota Wild 4

PIC OF THE GAME
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - It was expected to be another heated battle as the Northwest rivals faced each other Friday night but it wasn't the usual tight-checking one-goal game that the teams are used to.

The Minnesota Wild hope they've toughened up enough for the playoffs. The other parts of their game are working well, too.

Cocking their fists and firing away on the power play, the Wild surged past the slumping Canucks with a 4-0 victory on Friday night.

The Wild can clinch a spot in the postseason with one more win, but they're chasing more than that. They stretched their lead in the Northwest Division to three points over idle Calgary, which has five games remaining to Minnesota's three. Colorado also trails by three points, after a shootout win over Edmonton.

"The end is coming, and we need the guys to be at their best," coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Niklas Backstrom sure was. He posted his fourth shutout of the season - two came in the first three games - and set a franchise record with his 31st victory.

"I feel OK out there, but it goes with the team," Backstrom said. "When you know the team is playing well, then it's easier for everybody."

Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns scored with the Wild a man up, sending the Canucks to their fourth straight loss and a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with Nashville.

Ryan Kesler was asked if there was enough resolve on the roster to win out.

"Yeah, of course," the center said. "There's a lot of character in this room. Right now we're going through a little adversity, but that's when we're at our best."

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo was pulled for the second straight game, after giving up two goals in each of the first two periods. Luongo, who came from Florida on an early-morning flight after his wife gave birth to their first child, has given up nine goals in two games - in a total of 45 minutes. Luongo entered the night ranked fourth in the NHL with a .921 save percentage.

The new father isn't to entirely to fault for the Canucks recent slide.

"The guys in front of him have to play better in every area," Naslund said. "He's been there for us all year, and if it wasn't for him we wouldn't be where we are. It's up to us to play hard for him."

3 STARS
Mikko Koivu
Scored a goal and added an assist. Led all skaters with five shots and 65% faceoff wins.
Niklas Backstrom
Made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the year.
Sean Hill
Led all players with five hits. Registered an assist and finished the night +1.

Missing center and alternate captain Brendan Morrison, who sustained a season-ending knee injury Wednesday in Colorado, the Canucks were overwhelmed. The Wild were sharp from start to finish, though when they went up by four goals they skated without discipline and started trying to score more in the second.

Lemaire was relieved they emerged from that stretch unscathed. Vancouver never took advantage.

"I know the guys were ready and they wanted to play a good game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Obviously, it didn't show on the ice there. That being said, we made a couple of mistakes that they made us pay for. Our power play didn't capitalize, and when they did make mistakes 5-on-5 their goaltender came up big for them."

Bouchard's slap shot squeezed past a screening Aaron Voros and soared high over Luongo's stick midway through the first period, and an unmarked Burns scored on a blistering slap shot from the high slot to make it 3-0 halfway through the middle frame. Lemaire was delighted by the way Burns moved around with the Wild on the man advantage.

Just 8 seconds after a power play expired, Mikko Koivu made a nifty move from behind the end line to fake former teammate Willie Mitchell and poke the puck past Luongo for the second goal. The puck was in the Canucks zone for the entire advantage.

Todd Fedoruk, one of the tough guys the Wild are hoping can give them some more tenacity for the playoffs, scored off Marian Gaborik's 40th assist to make it 4-0. Fedoruk, Chris Simon and Derek Boogaard have given Minnesota a more physical presence.

In the third period, all 10 skaters on the ice wound up dropping their gloves and sticks in a wild melee after Alex Burrows and Bouchard started mixing it up. Nine penalties were issued.

"We play that team and we stick up for each other," Bouchard said.

Notes: Wild D Kurtis Foster, who broke his left leg last week, flew back to the Twin Cities to continue his hospital stay and physical therapy. There is no timetable for his discharge, but the team wanted its physician to be able to evaluate him. ... In the previous 10 games, Vancouver killed 39 of 44 penalties - 88.6 percent. ... Colton Gillies, Minnesota's most recent first-round draft pick, signed a multiyear contract with the club that begins next season. The 19-year-old center has been playing at the junior level in the WHL. He'll finish the season in the AHL. ... Mitchell was on the ice for all four goals.

scoring summary
1st Period
11:37
MIN
PPG - Pierre-Marc Bouchard (13) Slapshot - ASST: Benoit Pouliot (1), Mikko Koivu (29)
1 - 0 MIN
17:21
MIN
Mikko Koivu (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Brian Rolston (27), Sean Hill (6)
2 - 0 MIN
2nd Period
08:28
MIN
PPG - Brent Burns (15) Slapshot - ASST: Marian Gaborik (39), Pavol Demitra (34)
3 - 0 MIN
13:28
MIN
Todd Fedoruk (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Marian Gaborik (40), Keith Carney (9)
4 - 0 MIN
3rd Period
NONE
penalty summary
1st Period
07:59
MIN
Sean Hill  Hooking against  Jeff Cowan
10:06
VAN
Ryan Kesler  Hooking against  Marian Gaborik
13:30
MIN
Aaron Voros  Hooking against  Jeff Cowan
15:13
VAN
Alexander Edler  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
2nd Period
01:33
MIN
Aaron Voros  Interference on goalkeeper against  Roberto Luongo
06:35
VAN
Byron Ritchie  Hi-sticking against  Pavol Demitra
3rd Period
07:48
MIN
Derek Boogaard  Fighting (maj) against  Jeff Cowan
07:48
VAN
Jeff Cowan  Fighting (maj) against  Derek Boogaard
09:43
MIN
Brent Burns  Unsportsmanlike conduct
09:43
MIN
Pierre-Marc Bouchard  Fighting (maj) against  Alexandre Burrows
09:43
MIN
Brent Burns  Misconduct (10 min) against  Nathan McIver
09:43
MIN
Brent Burns  Fighting (maj) against  Nathan McIver
09:43
MIN
Pierre-Marc Bouchard  Slashing (maj) against  Alexandre Burrows
09:43
MIN
Brent Burns  Instigator against  Nathan McIver
09:43
VAN
Alexandre Burrows  Fighting (maj) against  Pierre-Marc Bouchard
09:43
VAN
Nathan McIver  Fighting (maj) against  Brent Burns
09:43
VAN
Alexandre Burrows  Match penalty against  Pierre-Marc Bouchard
10:21
VAN
Henrik Sedin  Interference against  Marian Gaborik
18:43
VAN
Taylor Pyatt  Hooking against  Aaron Voros
19:48
MIN
Marian Gaborik  Roughing against  Ryan Kesler
19:48
VAN
Ryan Kesler  Roughing against  Marian Gaborik
19:48
VAN
Nathan McIver  Roughing against  Todd Fedoruk
19:48
MIN
Todd Fedoruk  Roughing against  Nathan McIver
19:48
MIN
Todd Fedoruk  Misconduct (10 min) against  Nathan McIver
goalie stats
Roberto Luongo
SA: 21TOI: 33:28
Saves: 17EV: 9 - 11
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 8
SV%: .810SH: 2 - 2
Curtis Sanford
SA: 9TOI: 26:32
Saves: 9EV: 6 - 6
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: 1.000SH: 0 - 0
Niklas Backstrom
Niklas Backstrom
SA: 28TOI: 60:00
Saves: 28EV: 23 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: 1.000SH: 0 - 0