Wild come back, win in shootout vs. Canucks
By Jess Myers, The Sports Xchange
Minnesota 3 Vancouver 2
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Something about the shootout seems to perplex the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks went 0-for-3 in the skills-competition tiebreaker, losing to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Tuesday.
"We (stink) in the shootout. We do," Canucks coach John Tortorella said. "We've got to try different people I guess, because we stink at it."
Minnesota got a goal late in regulation to tie Vancouver before right winger Jason Pominville scored the only goal in a shootout, lifting the Wild to the come-from-behind win.
The Wild (20-11-5) trailed 2-1 before center Charlie Coyle knotted the game midway through the third. Left winger Zach Parise scored Minnesota's first goal, and goaltender Josh Harding made 29 saves in regulation and overtime as the Wild improved to 14-3-2 at home.
"Once we started to shoot the puck a little more in the third, that's when we started to generate some offense off rebounds," said Parise. "Teams scramble when you shoot the puck. When you keep it on the perimeter it's pretty easy to defend. But once we started shooting that's when we started to open it up."
Right winger Jannik Hansen and left winger David Booth scored for the Canucks (20-10-6). Vancouver got 30 saves from goaltender Roberto Luongo but lost for the first time in December, snapping a seven-game winning streak.
Luongo hadn't started a game in Minnesota in more than three years, and he was pulled from his previous three starts in the Wild's home rink, allowing five goals or more each time. On Tuesday, he kept Minnesota at bay for much of the game, including a frantic third period in which the Wild outshot Vancouver 11-5.
"I don't care about that stuff. I wasn't worried about it coming into the game, I just wanted to play," said Luongo, faulting himself for not stopping Coyle's shot. "We played well as a team, I've just got to make a save there."
The teams traded goals in a back-and-forth first period. Vancouver got on the board first when Hansen scored his third goal in the past four games, ripping a wrist shot that eluded Harding on the blocker side at 8:46.
Minnesota answered on the power play exactly three minutes later. A crisp passing play in front of Luongo ended when Parise shot from the low circle behind the goalie. It was Parise's 15th goal of the season, tying him for the team lead with Pominville.
"Our guys dig deep," said Wild coach Mike Yeo, noting this was the second game in a row that his team had rallied to win in a shootout. "Two games in a row where we're down after two periods where we come back and battle back to get a win."
The Canucks lost defenseman Ryan Stanton early in the second period when he got locked up with Wild center Zenon Konopka. Stanton was tripped up behind the Vancouver net and went hard into the end boards. He got up favoring his left leg and headed to the dressing room.
Konopka, who fought with Canucks right winger Dale Weise in the first period, was given a minor penalty for tripping. That call prompted a rain of boos from the crowd, which did not feel Konopka tripped Stanton on the play. A heated argument ensued between referee Tim Peel and Tortorella, who felt that Konopka deserved a major penalty on the play.
"It shouldn't have been a minor. That's what I thought," Tortorella said, referencing Konopka's reputation as a goon. "We're trying to get that play out of the game, and look at the person who's doing it. I just thought it should've been more than a minor."
Stanton did not return to the game.
NOTES: Wild RW Nino Niederreiter skated in his 100th career game. In his first 64 games, played with the New York Islanders over parts of two seasons, Niederreiter recorded two goals and one assist. In his first 36 games with the Wild, the Swiss national has six goals and 10 assists and is second on the team in with 82 hits. ... Minnesota D Keith Ballard was playing his first game against the Canucks since signing in his home state over the summer. Ballard, who played college hockey at the University of Minnesota, spent 148 games over three seasons with the Canucks, including the team's run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011. ... Vancouver's three-game road trip continues Thursday when the Canucks visit the Dallas Stars. Minnesota also will be traveling, as the Wild play their next four on the road, startingThursday when they face the Penguins in Pittsburgh.