Your Minnesota Wild came out tonight firing on all cylinders with a dominating 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The very same Canucks team you may remember who beat up the Wild to the tune of a 5-2 score in game 1 of the 7-game road trip. With the Canucks coming to St. Paul for round 2, the Wild really made it count in all phases of the game, and exacted some sweet revenge.
While you never really want to march to the penalty box, the Wild killed 5 of 6 penalties tonight,. They went 2 for 2 on the power play, Devan Dubnyk stopped 25 of 27 shots, Charlie Coyle played really well and was rewarded with his first goal in a blue moon, and Nino Niederreiter notched his 2nd goal of the season (and past few games) on a brilliant redirect of a Mikko Koivu pass. The guys looked good tonight, and it wasn’t just the usual suspects of this season.
All this, and the team was missing Zach Parise who stayed home sick with the flu. Coyle filled in on the Koivu line with Nino, and there was much rejoicing.
Like all games for the Wild, the Canucks came out looking like they were going to put up a fight. Circumstance would get in the way however when Charlie Coyle stepped in and scored an early goal for the Wild. Coyle caught the Canucks defense puck watching after Jonas Brodin sky’ed a puck over everyones head. Coyle chased it down and scored with a pretty forehand-backhand deke. From then on, the Canucks looked a lot like a team on the last game of a 6-game road trip, just wanting to get home.
Exacerbating matters, Darren Archibald would get his stick up on Jordan Greenway, putting the Wild on their first power play of the game. And just when you think it can’t get much worse for Vancouver... Well, I’m just going to let the video do the talking.
I sure hope Koivu sends Richard Bachman of the Canucks a basket with the finest Finnish vodka after that gift.
And that was about it for the Canucks. The Wild took over the game and didn’t look back. Early in the second period the Wild were back on the power play after Ben Hutton went to the box 40 seconds in for tripping Eric Staal. Halfway through that power play, Nino would beautifly redirect a pass from Koivu that would tuck in just inside of the far post. It would mark Niederreiter’s 2nd goal in 5 games as well as Koivu’s 3rd point in the game. Vancouver figured one thing out tonight though. Don’t give the Wild a power play. After that, they didn’t.
The Canucks would get one back though when Bo Horvat would rip a wrister past Dubs on the power play. It would be a short breath of air for the Canucks though, because 36 seconds later Eric Staal get a fortunate bounce and a goal. Staal pulled a wide wrap around and just kind of through the puck towards the crease. It would catch some of Bachman’s equipment and trickle into the goal.
The Wild were not done pouring it on in the second period though. 6 minutes past the Staal marker, Matt Dumba would rip a bomb from the point to stretch the twine, and the lead. Bachman looked like he was screened a bit by his own guy on this one, but Dumba got every last bit of this rocket too.
The teams would exchange a couple goals in quick succession in the early parts of the third period. Jason Zucker would score off a pretty cross-ice feed from Staal. Markus Granlund would score off a rebound for the Canucks. A pair of real stat padders in the early parts of the third as this game was well in hand and over. The Wild just wanted to get out of the game without taking any injuries, and the Canucks just wanted to go home and sleep in their own beds. The Canucks rounded out their round trip with 4 consecutive losses.
For the Wild, it was awesome to see them bounce back after a pretty lackluster affair against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. With Coyle and Nino looking like they’re starting to find their game, and Staal getting a goal to help bump up his slumping numbers, the Wild are looking a lot more consistent on the ice. They have now won 11 of their last 14 games and haven’t lost in back-to-back games for a month.
The Wild are now 12-5-2 on the season, good for 26 points and just 1 point behind the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning for the Presidents Trophy race. Next up for your Wild, we’ve got back-to-back games this weekend. An early evening Saturday game against the Buffalo Sabres, followed by a trip down to Chicago to faceoff against a struggling Blackhawks team.
* All video courtesy of NHL.com