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Canucks Tame Wild in Minny

Canucks Hold On To Beat Coyotes 4-3

Behind Radim Vrbata’s 2 goals, and a 30 save effort by Ryan Miller, the Vancouver Canucks secured a 3-2 road victory over the home team Minnesota Wild.

After losing six times on a seven-game road trip that concluded last week, the Vancouver Canucks knew a better start was required Wednesday.

With 23 games now in the books, the Canucks sit in 8th spot in the Western Conference, and for a team that’s in the middle of a “semi rebuild,” making the playoffs as an 8th seed is not the most ideal situation.

Out of the gates the Canucks came out slow and sluggish, and the hungry Wild were able to capitalize early. Thomas Vanek scored his ninth goal of the year on the power play at the 12:39 mark of the first period.

With less than a minute remaining in the first period, the Canucks finally showed some signs of life, when Vrbata accepted a backhanded drop pass from Jared McCann in the high slot and beat goaltender Devan Dubnyk with a low shot, tying the game 1-1.

The Canucks came out strong in the second period dictating the tone and pace of the game, and after continued pressure were able to capitalize.  Vancouver finally cashed in on Vrbata’s second goal midway through the period. Henrik Sedin‘s cross-rink pass deflected off a defenseman’s skate in front of Dubnyk, who was caught out of position. Vrbata jumped on the loose puck, shooting between Dubnyk’s glove and the post for his sixth at 11:15.

Holding a 2-1 lead, the Canucks extended their lead to 3-1 in the third when Swiss army knife Jannik Hansen potted his seventh goal of the season at the 5:31 mark, giving the Canucks further insurance.

Minnesota pulled Devan Dubnyk with two minutes remaining and got within one when Ryan Suter’s point shot was tipped in front by Coyle with 1:20 remaining, and all the while Canucks fan were thinking here we go again.

With 44 seconds remaining, the Wild pulled Dubnyk and had a golden opportunity to draw even when Alex Edler was called for tripping.

With a mad scramble in the end, Miller made a blocker save on Mikael Granlund, Jason Pominville hit the crossbar and Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis made a diving block on a shot by Mikko Koivu with Miller down-and-out in the crease.

The win gave the Canucks a great start to their road trip, and gives them much needed confidence in their ability to hold late game leads.

Up next: The Canucks travel to Dallas to face the Western Conference leading Stars in a Friday afternoon matchup.

 

Written by: Hamed Amiri

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