Canucks
Wild
0 - 4 Final
  for this game

Koivu, Backstrom help Wild blank Canucks

Mar 29, 2008 - 5:45 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Thanks to Mikko Koivu and Niklas Backstrom, the Vancouver Canucks' untimely slide continued.

Koivu scored a goal and set up another and Backstrom made 28 saves as the Minnesota Wild cruised to a 4-0 victory over the slumping Canucks on Friday.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard, defenseman Brent Burns and enforcer Todd Fedoruk also tallied and All-Star Marian Gaborik recorded a pair of assists for Minnesota (42-28-9), which increased its lead over idle Calgary (40-27-10) to three points in the Northwest Division.

Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 21 shots before being pulled for the second straight game for the Canucks (38-30-10), who have lost four in a row and remained even in points with the Nashville Predators (39-31-8) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Predators skated to a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

"It's all tight," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "I think the first time I met you guys (in the media) at the beginning of the year, I said it was going to go down to the wire, and that's what we've got right now."

"I think you can only talk so much. After a while, words aren't that important," Vancouver captain Markus Naslund said. "I think it's the effort we do and hope that we all come out and battle and play our best. I think if we can get that and battle for one another, we can make it."

Friday's contest was the last on the road for Vancouver, which wraps up the regular season with four straight at General Motors Place.

"We've got a portion of our schedule that when we looked at it at the beginning of the year, we were really pleased," Vigneault said. "We've got four games at home, our fans have been outstanding and we expect them to be behind us. We hope that with their support this week, starting on Sunday, that we'll be able to put up some wins, desperate wins we need right now."

After helping set up Bouchard for the game's first goal midway through the opening period, Koivu netted one of his own with 2:39 remaining in the session, firing the puck under the left arm of Luongo from near the right goalpost for his 11th of the season.

Koivu has recorded five points in his last two games.

"Sometimes you have chances and it doesn't go in, and sometimes a bad play will bring you a point, so it kind of doesn't matter," the Finn said. "Of course, you want to score and help the team that way, but it's more important that you're in the game and do the things right and as good as you can. Individually and as a unit, it will bring the goals for us."

Burns gave the Wild a 3-0 bulge at 8:28 of the middle period, one-timing a pass from Gaborik past Luongo from the slot during a power play.

"Burns was just great in the slot, how he worked there," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He was moving all the time so he could get that puck. He was moving all the time and ready to shoot. I guess it's easier for him because he's a righthanded shot, and we work a lot from the right side so he can get a one-timer. I really love what he did."

Fedoruk completed the scoring with 6:32 to go in the second, converting a nice feed from Gaborik from the slot for his fifth of the campaign.

"You see the 2-on-1, I thought he was going to shoot it," Fedoruk said.

That ended the night for Luongo, who also was yanked from Wednesday's 6-3 loss to Colorado after yielding five goals on 23 shots. Curtis Sanford came on and turned aside all nine shots he faced.

"I wouldn't blame (Luongo) for this," Naslund said. "The guys in front of him have to play better in every area. Louie's been there for us all year. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be close to where we are. I know he'll play tough for us, we have to play hard for him."

"He went out and tried his best. That's all we can ask," Vigneault said. "It didn't work out tonight."

The offensive support was more than enough for Backstrom, who made nine saves in both the first and third periods and 10 in the second for his fourth shutout of the season and ninth career.

It was the 31st win of the season for Backstrom, eclipsing the franchise record for most victories in a campaign set in 2005-06 by Manny Fernandez.

"I think that's more a thing that you'll remember later in the summer or after you stop playing," Backstrom said. "You try to focus and go a game at a time, but of course it's a big thing. I'm still in my second year in the league and I try to be better every day. That tells you a lot of this team and how well its played lately, and the whole season. You don't get those wins by yourself."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 2 2 0 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 13 (BENOIT POULIOT, MIKKO
    KOIVU) 11:37
    MIN - MIKKO KOIVU 11 (BRIAN ROLSTON, SEAN HILL) 17:21
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 15 (MARIAN GABORIK, PAVOL DEMITRA)
    8:28
    MIN - TODD FEDORUK

    Mar 28 10:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 2 2 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 13 (BENOIT POULIOT, MIKKO
    KOIVU) 11:37
    MIN - MIKKO KOIVU 11 (BRIAN ROLSTON, SEAN HILL) 17:21
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 15 (MARIAN GABORIK, PAVOL DEMITRA)
    8:28
    MIN -

    Mar 28 9:35 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    MINNESOTA 4
    2ND PRD: MIN - TODD FEDORUK 5 (MARIAN GABORIK, KEITH CARNEY) 13:28

    Canucks 0, Wild 4  2nd - 6:32Mar 28 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    MINNESOTA 3
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 15 (MARIAN GABORIK, PAVOL DEMITRA)
    8:28

    Canucks 0, Wild 3  2nd - 11:32Mar 28 9:18 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 0
    MINNESOTA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 13 (BENOIT POULIOT, MIKKO
    KOIVU) 11:37
    MIN - MIKKO KOIVU 11 (BRIAN ROLSTON, SEAN HILL) 17:21
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VAN 9

    Mar 28 8:46 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    1ST PRD: MIN - MIKKO KOIVU 11 (BRIAN ROLSTON, SEAN HILL) 17:21

    Canucks 0, Wild 2  1st - 2:39Mar 28 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 13 (BENOIT POULIOT, MIKKO
    KOIVU) 11:37

    Canucks 0, Wild 1  1st - 8:23Mar 28 8:30 PM
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