Wild
Canucks
4 - 2 Final
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Bouchard's four-point night helps Wild take division lead

Jan 22, 2008 - 7:11 AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Niklas Backstrom helped the Minnesota Wild climb to the top of a cluttered Northwest Division.

Bouchard scored two goals and set up two others and Backstrom turned aside 38 shots as the Wild avoided a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

Minnesota entered the contest tied for third in the division with Vancouver. But with the win, it jumped over both the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames to take over the top spot.

"We have said before, in the beginning of the season, that this will be an intense battle right to the end," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "There's still a lot of hockey to be played, and I firmly believe that if we play the way we are now with the intensity that we are doing, we will look a lot like the team last year that at one point may be struggling a little bit to score goals and to win games, and then turn the corner and win on a big stretch."

Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu also tallied for the Wild, who continue their three-game road trip with visits to Colorado and Calgary on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, in hopes of building upon their division lead.

"To come here and get a win against the Canucks, it's big," Bouchard said. "You look at the standings and all the teams are close. It's a big win."

"You get two points and have them not get any, that's huge, especially starting on the road trip," Wild defenseman Brent Burns added. "It's a tough road trip. It's a good start for us."

Bouchard gave Minnesota a 2-1 advantage with 7:24 left in the second period, when he received a pass from former Vancouver defenseman Keith Carney and faked a slap shot before sliding a wrister between the pads of goaltender Roberto Luongo.

The play was not without controversy, however, as Burns delivered a high stick to Ryan Kesler just before the tally. Kesler remained on the ice in obvious pain for a few seconds, but neither referee called a penalty.

"I didn't look at them," Bouchard said of the apparent high stick. "It was a great hit by Burnsie and Carns gave me a nice pass. Maybe they were changing or something, I wasn't really sure."

Koivu added a much-needed insurance goal with 4:25 left in the final session as he fired a wrist shot over Luongo's shoulder to make it 3-1.

"Of course it's easier to play with a two-goal lead, but still, you can't think about it that way," Koivu said. "Of course you want to play it tight at the end. They got the goal, but it's something that just happens when a team plays with that risk."

Taylor Pyatt halved the deficit with 28 seconds remaining after receiving a nice backhand pass from All-Star Henrik Sedin, but Bouchard launched a shot into the empty net five seconds later to seal the win.

"He's been playing like this lately - much better," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said of Bouchard. "Not only did he get four points, it's what he does with the puck. When he has it, he skates, he's moving. He had an exceptional game."

Backstrom had his best start of the month, making 17 saves in the first period, eight in the second and 13 in the third. He had surrendered 12 goals over his first four starts in January.

The goaltending appeared to be stealing the show early until the teams combined for three goals in less than a three-minute span midway through the middle session.

"Of course it's easier for the goalie when you play more. You're more into the game, but you can't really hide behind that," Backstrom said. "You have to be ready when you get the chance. You get into the rhythm. For me, it's a good game today. I got a lot of shots, so it's easier to get into the game and be part of the game."

Rolston notched his 15th tally of the season to open the scoring. After collecting a rebound, he fought off defenseman Mike Weaver and beat Luongo to the stick side with a quick wrist shot at 9:45.

Alexandre Burrows answered 40 seconds later with an unassisted goal before Bouchard scored the go-ahead tally just over two minutes afterward.

Luongo stopped 22 shots for the Canucks, who have lost a season-high four consecutive games.

"Sometimes we were pressed because we were behind, so that opens up the play for the other team," Luongo said. "I'm trying the best I can out there and working hard. I'm a human being like everyone else. It's hard to be on top for every game. Obviously, I gave up that goal tonight, but you know you can always do better."






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    Wild vs. CanucksJan 22 11:06 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 2 2 4
    VANCOUVER 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 15 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, JAMES
    SHEPPARD) 9:45
    VAN - ALEXANDRE BURROWS 5 (UNASSISTED) 10:25
    MIN - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 9 (KEITH CARNEY) 12:36
    3RD PRD: MIN - MIKKO KOIVU 7 (PIERRE-MAR

    Jan 22 12:27 AM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 4
    VANCOUVER 2
    3RD PRD: MIN - (EN) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 10 (UNASSISTED) 19:38

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 22 12:26 AM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 3
    VANCOUVER 2
    3RD PRD: VAN - TAYLOR PYATT 12 (HENRIK SEDIN, DANIEL SEDIN) 19:32

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 22 12:26 AM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 20 roots

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 22 12:26 AM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 22 12:26 AM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 3
    VANCOUVER 1
    3RD PRD: MIN - MIKKO KOIVU 7 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, TODD FEDORUK)
    15:35

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 22 12:16 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 2 2
    VANCOUVER 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 15 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, JAMES
    SHEPPARD) 9:45
    VAN - ALEXANDRE BURROWS 5 (UNASSISTED) 10:25
    MIN - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 9 (KEITH CARNEY) 12:36
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST

    Jan 21 11:34 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    VANCOUVER 1
    2ND PRD: MIN - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 9 (KEITH CARNEY) 12:36

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 21 11:24 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    VANCOUVER 1
    2ND PRD: VAN - ALEXANDRE BURROWS 5 (UNASSISTED) 10:25

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 21 11:16 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    VANCOUVER 0
    2ND PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 15 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, JAMES SHEPPARD)
    9:45

    Wild vs. CanucksJan 21 11:15 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 0
    VANCOUVER 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 6 6
    VAN 17 17
    GOALIES: MIN - NIKLAS BACKSTROM
    VAN - ROBERTO LUONGO

    Jan 21 10:43 PM