Power play clicks, but that's about it for Canucks in loss to Wild 0
Vancouver Canucks' Kevin Bieksa punches Minnesota Wild Dany Heatley (right) in the back of the head during the second period of Monday's game in Vancouver. (REUTERS)
Monday will be remembered as the night the dismal power play drought came to an end for the Vancouver Canucks. The final score, however, wasn't as memorable.
For the first time in 12 games, and after a stretch of 36 goal-less opportunities, the Canucks finally scored with the man advantage to end weeks of failed chances and debatable decisions by the coaching staff. With Jason Garrison and Jannik Hansen back up on the top unit, they clicked for the opening goal of the evening — as Garrison's point shot hit Daniel Sedin and bounced onto the stick of Henrik Sedin for his eighth of the season.
But it simply wasn't enough.
Instead, the Minnesota Wild came back with three unanswered goals to win 3-1 at Rogers Arena in an important tilt for top spot in the Northwest Division. With the victory, the Wild now pull two points ahead of Vancouver in the standings while holding the tiebreaker as well.
"At least we'll maybe stop getting some questions about it, that's a good thing," Henrik said of the power play. "But if it doesn't mean getting wins, it doesn't mean anything. It was nice getting one but we got to score more five-on-five as well."
Again the Canucks had trouble scoring, and again, defensive lapses in their own zone proved costly. But even so, the captain thought the effort was there for the entire game.
"We have to trust our system and trust the guys that we have, and we're going to get wins if we keep playing like this," he said. "We played a good 60 minutes."
With that said though, the Canucks still suffered their eighth loss in the last 11 games to fall to 13-9-6 on the season and remain seventh in the Western Conference.
Roberto Luongo, who has now allowed three goals or more in six of his last eight starts, made 22 saves in the defeat.
"We're trying, we're working hard but we're not winning," Luongo said. "When that happens, guys tend to press a little bit and that's not always a good thing."
Henrik's PP marker — his fifth goal in seven games — just past the midway mark of the second period put the Canucks up in front. But defenceman Jonas Brodin tied it up for the Wild not long after, as his slapshot from the point — also on the power play — found its way through a crowd and into the net for his second of the year.
Minnesota jumped out in front early in the third when Clayton Stoner's point show was tipped by rookie Charlie Coyle.
"The second goal, I was a little surprised they didn't take more time to review it," Luongo said of the forward's third of the season. "It went off the bar and in and it wasn't tipped up. I'm a little disappointed they went to the face-off right away."
The visitors added another with less than 11 minutes to go in regulation when — due to a missed Canucks defensive coverage — centre Matt Cullen found himself in alone to put the shot through Luongo's five hole. That was it as the Canucks couldn't convert on two third period power plays.
Goalie Niklas Backstrom finished with 35 saves for the Wild.
Vancouver were again without Zack Kassian (back) and David Booth, who is out indefinitely with an ankle sprain. Jordan Schroeder was called up by the team earlier in the day and finished with 9:53 of ice time.
The Canucks get right back at it Tuesday night when they host the St. Louis Blues at Rogers Arena. Cory Schneider will get the start.