ST. PAUL, Minn. – Roberto Luongo was a lot better in Minnesota than he’d been in the past. Still, he wasn’t quite good enough to extend Vancouver’s seven-game winning streak.
Jason Pominville slipped a shot past Luongo’s glove in the third round of a shootout to lift the Wild to a 3-2 victory Tuesday night, the first loss by the Canucks this month.
Luongo made 30 saves, including 14 in the third period and overtime, and stopped Zach Parise to open the shootout. Mikko Koivu, who had two assists for a team-high 20 this season, hit the crossbar with his shot before Pominville scored. Ryan Kesler’s last-chance attempt for Vancouver sailed wide right after Josh Harding stopped shots by Mike Santorelli and Chris Higgins.
“We’ve got to try different people, I guess, because we stink at it,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said.
Harding made 29 saves to win for the fifth time in his last six starts and the Wild improved to 14-3-2 at Xcel Energy Center, where Luongo fell to 3-9-3 in his career.
“I don’t care about that stuff. I wasn’t worried about it coming into the game. I just wanted to play,” Luongo said.
Parise scored early for the Wild, but Charlie Coyle’s late goal was what bothered Luongo, who let a snap shot go between his legs to tie the game with 11:13 left in regulation.
“It’s a disappointing loss. I’ve got to make that save there on that second goal. That’s the bottom line. I do and we win the game 2-1,” Luongo said.
His last start in Minnesota was Oct. 19, 2010. Pulled from the past three games he started here, Luongo gave up a total of 16 goals on those forgettable nights.
“I think we need a save on the second goal, but he made some great saves in the overtime,” Tortorella said. “I’ve never been here with him. It’s a big story that he stinks here. But I thought he played well tonight.”
Jannik Hansen and David Booth each scored for the second straight game for the Canucks, who won their first seven games this month by a 24-8 combined margin. Only one of those wins went past regulation.
The Wild, meanwhile, improved to 12-2-5 in one-goal games.
“Confidence, and just sort of an attitude as much as anything else, that they’re going to keep fighting,” coach Mike Yeo said.
After ignoring the advice for most of the first two periods—Tortorella called the game “boring” until overtime—the Wild heeded Yeo’s urging to send more pucks at the net down the stretch.
“Teams scramble when you shoot the puck. When you keep it on the perimeter, it’s pretty easy to defend,” Parise said, adding: “You don’t want to make a habit of it, but we’re confident we can come back.”
This was the only home game for the Wild in the middle of a grueling eight-game stretch against some of the NHL’s top teams.
“Down by a goal, you kind of got a sense of urgency, I think,” Coyle said. “And time is winding down, so you pick it up a little bit. I think we’ve got to play like that for the most part the whole game.”
NOTES: Zenon Konopka took a penalty for tripping in the second period that the crowd loudly booed. But the Canucks wanted a major, because defenceman Ryan Stanton went feet first hard into the boards and was injured. He didn’t return and was wearing a boot on his left foot afterward. … C Mikael Granlund, who has played just one shift in the last 13 games because of a concussion, returned to practice Monday and is close to being cleared to play again. … The Higgins-Kesler-Santorelli line has 10 goals and 14 assists between them in eight games this month. … Parise’s goal was the first power-play score against the Canucks during December, ending a run of seven games and 21 opportunities without one. … Ryan Suter had an assist for the fourth straight game and was on the ice for 32:34, the 12th time in the last 21 games that he topped 30 minutes. “When the game’s on the line and he’s playing like that, it’s hard not to put him out,” Yeo said.