ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — Roberto Luongo and the Sedin twins
have the Vancouver Canucks looking as though they might be a
force in the playoffs. The Minnesota Wild, however, are fading
from postseason contention.
Henrik Sedin scored 4 minutes into overtime and Roberto Luongo
stopped 33 shots, leading the Canucks over the Wild 2-1 on
Tuesday night. Vancouver vaulted over idle Calgary into first
place in the Northwest Division.
“Back in January not many people thought we’d be in the spot we
are, but we’ve worked hard for where we are,” Luongo said. “We
need to make sure here in the last few games that we keep
pushing and try to get that third seed.”
Former Wild forward Pavol Demitra scored Vancouver’s regulation
goal late in the second period and Marian Gaborik tied it at
5:14 of the third for the Wild.
The Canucks needed Luongo’s dominance because they didn’t have a
shot on goal in the third period. It was the first time
Minnesota held an opponent without a shot in a period since Oct.
Daniel Sedin was credited with the assist on his brother’s
winner, a slap shot that beat Niklas Backstrom high.
The line consisting of the Sedins and Alex Burrows has totaled
19 goals and 41 points over Vancouver’s last 11 games. The Sedin
brothers’ dominance has stood out down the stretch.
“The twins this past month when we’ve had 15 games to play have
been our top production guys,” Canucks coach Alex Vigneault
said. “They’ve done it in pressure moments, and that’s good for
us with the playoffs around the corner.”
Luongo reached the 30-win mark for the fourth straight season.
Only four other goalies in the league have such active streaks.
Vancouver finally managed a shot 3:30 into overtime. Despite
Minnesota’s late defensive stand, it still wasn’t able to earn
the extra point.
“Everybody gave 100 percent and we couldn’t come up with the two
points,” Wild forward Stephane Veilleux said. “That seventh and
eighth playoff spot are tough to get, so not getting that extra
Both teams have a lot to play for late in the season. The
Canucks are now in control of the No. 3 seed that comes to the
“It’s very important. Now we’re in charge of our own destiny,”
Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler said. “The division is up to us to
have now, it’s not up to whether Calgary wins or loses. It’s
been a long time since we’ve had a hold of it.”
The loss seriously damaged Minnesota’s already slim playoff
chances. Minnesota is 11th in the West, and will need a lot of
pieces to fall into place to overcome the three teams it trails
with five games left.
One reason the Wild didn’t gain ground on Tuesday was the
failure to score on five power-play opportunities, including
three in a row in the first and second periods.
“I felt that we didn’t have enough on the power play,” Wild
coach Jacques Lemaire said. “You just can’t be waiting, waiting.
You have to put the puck on net.”
Demitra, playing against his former team for the first time, was
credited with the game’s first goal when his centering pass
bounced off Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson and into the net. It
was the 300th of his career.
Gaborik made it 1-1 when he beat former linemate Demitra deep in
Vancouver’s zone and slipped a backhander by Luongo.
The Wild were without defenseman Brent Burns and forward
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, both out indefinitely with concussions.