Wild cool off Canucks in shootout
By Dave Campbell, AP Sports Writer
ST. PAUL — Jason Pominville slipped a shot past Roberto Luongo’s glove in the third round of a shootout to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday, ending the Canucks’ winning streak at seven games.
Luongo made 30 saves, including 14 in the third period and overtime, and stopped Zach Parise to open the shootout. Mikko Koivu, who had two assists for a team-high 20 this season, hit the crossbar with his shot before Pominville scored. Ryan Kesler’s last-chance attempt for the Canucks sailed wide right.
Josh Harding stopped shots by Mike Santorelli and Chris Higgins in the shootout and made 29 saves to win for the fifth time in his last six starts. The Wild improved to 14-3-2 at Xcel Energy Center, where Luongo fell to 3-9-3 in his career.
This was a lot better than he’d done in the past, but not quite enough to win.
Jannik Hansen and David Booth each scored for the second straight game for the Canucks, who won their first seven games this month by a 24-8 combined margin. Only one of those wins went past regulation.
The Wild improved to 12-2-5 in one-goal games this season.
Parise had an early goal for the Wild, and Charlie Coyle scored late — a snap shot that went between Luongo’s legs to tie the game with 11:13 left in regulation.
Luongo’s last start here was Oct. 19, 2010.
He said before the game he didn’t remember when it was. New coach John Tortorella didn’t flinch in declaring him the starter despite his past trouble; Luongo would have to “exorcise that demon,” the coach said.
Pulled from the last three games he started here, Luongo gave up a total of 16 goals on those forgettable nights.
This was the only home game for the Wild in the middle of a grueling eight-game stretch against some of the NHL’s top teams.
These teams forged their rivalry in the now-disintegrated Northwest Division, an intensity born out of their Western Conference semifinal series in 2003 when the Wild came back to upset the Canucks. In their first of only three meetings this season, they still produced plenty of action.
The Higgins-Kesler-Santorelli line has 10 goals and 14 assists between them in eight games this month, but with the Sedin twins next to him, Hansen is part of quite the trio, too.
Midway through the first period, a slick series of passes from Henrik Sedin to Daniel Sedin across the slot to Hansen set up the first goal for the Canucks, a shot Hansen sent high past Harding’s stick.
The Wild snapped right back with Parise’s goal, which ended a stifling stretch by the Canucks with their league-leading penalty kill. It was the first power-play score against them during December, ending a run of seven games and 21 opportunities without one.
Less than 2 minutes later, the Wild were on another man advantage, and they peppered Luongo will all kinds of close-range shots they couldn’t sneak by the 34-year-old stalwart, who was back in front again midway through the second period. Booth camped out at the edge of the crease and knocked in a rebound of Yannick Weber’s shot past Harding’s outstretched glove.
NOTES: Zenon Konopka, who went to the box for fighting in the first period for the Wild, took a penalty for tripping in the second period that the crowd loudly booed. But the Canucks wanted a major, because defenseman Ryan Stanton went feet first hard into the boards and was injured, apparently to the lower leg. He didn’t return. The Canucks said Stanton was under evaluation. ... The Sedin twins, in 73 games against the Wild, have 113 combined points. ... Koivu has 43 points in 45 career games against the Canucks. ... C Mikael Granlund, who has played just one shift in the last 13 games because of a concussion, returned to practice Monday and is close to being cleared to play again. ... Members of the U.S. women’s hockey team, which plays Canada in a pre-Olympic exhibition game here on Dec. 28, were in attendance. Minnesota natives Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper were part of a group that led the crowd in the ceremonial “Let’s Play Hockey” chant right before the puck drop.