Canucks down Wild
ST. PAUL — Left winger David Booth scored two unassisted goals, goalie Eddie Lack made 29 saves and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Right winger Zack Kassian, left winger Daniel Sedin and center Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks, who won for the third straight time and fourth time in five games, earning an important two points as they keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
Center Charlie Coyle and right winger Nino Niederreiter scored for Minnesota, 3-4-4 in its last 11 games.
Vancouver began the night in 10th place in the Western Conference, three points behind Dallas and six behind eighth-place Phoenix. The Stars and Coyotes were idle Wednesday. The Canucks play Thursday at Colorado to complete a two-game trip before beginning a five-game homestand.
The Wild, who entered the game in seventh in the conference standings, three points up on Phoenix and six on Dallas, were looking to establish some momentum before beginning a four-game road trip Thursday in St. Louis, a team they have lost to eight straight times. The trip also takes Minnesota to Phoenix, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Tied 1-1, Booth, who went 32 games without a goal before scoring in Sunday’s win over Buffalo, got his second goal midway through the middle period, whistling a wrist shot over Darcy Kuemper’s glove after defenseman Jared Spurgeon nearly whiffed on a cross-ice pass, leaving the puck alone in the high slot.
Minnesota nearly tied it three minutes later on the power play, but defenseman Alex Edler raced in to swat away a shot by right winger Jason Pominville that Lack got some of the puck, but was still trickling toward the net.
Kassian, who had four assists Sunday, scored with less a minute to go in the period. Off the faceoff he outmuscled Coyle to the puck, spun and beat Kuemper through traffic. Kuemper made 10 saves before being replaced by Ilya Bryzgalov to start the third period.
Sedin tipped in defenseman Dan Hamhuis’ slapshot for a 4-1 lead midway through the third period, and Kesler scored off scramble 49 seconds later.
Niederreiter scored 24 seconds later to make it 5-2.
Booth gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead with 4:21 left in the first period.
Eight seconds after Lack stopped left winger Matt Moulson’s shot with a quick glove save, Booth picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and carried down the right side. Using defenseman Jonathan Blum as a screen, Booth’s shot went between Blum’s legs and beat Kuemper on the stick side, eliciting quite a few boos from the home crowd.
Less than 2 minutes later, the fans were on their feet as Coyle took advantage of an odd carom off the side glass and beat Lack with a wrist shot to tie the game.
Notes: Vancouver played its first game without C Henrik Sedin, who is expected to miss two weeks with a lower-body injury. Sedin has 11 goals and 47 assists in 74 games all-time against the Wild, the most assists and games played by a player against Minnesota and second-most points. ... With Sedin out, Ryan Kesler centered the Canucks’ top line between Daniel Sedin and Nicklas Jensen. ... Wild D Keith Ballard, who played 148 games with Vancouver during the past three seasons, missed his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Canucks LW Alex Burrows returned after missing Sunday’s game with a left hand injury. He went to the dressing room briefly in the second period after an open-ice hit from RW Nino Niederreiter. ... The Wild announced that two players underwent successful surgery Tuesday. Both G Niklas Backstrom (core muscle) and F Jason Zucker (tendon in his left quadriceps) are expected to be ready for next season.