ST. PAUL, Minn. – If Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo is looking to teach his team something about effort, he could use Henrik Sedin as an example.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin both scored against Minnesota for the first time in their careers to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the fading Wild on Thursday night.
Henrik Sedin played through a sore foot that bothered him throughout warmups, extending his consecutive games streak to 553—the second-longest active run in the NHL.
“We flat-out stink the last two months. We stink,” Yeo said. “We come in and we don’t have a good enough effort from too many guys. That’s concerning. I’m concerned about the fact that we come into games and we don’t have enough guys when we should have absolute desperation in our game playing against a team like this. We have too many guys not ready to pay the price.”
Maxim Lapierre, Manny Malhotra and Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks.
Dany Heatley scored 13 seconds into the game for the Wild (25-21-8), the fastest goal to start a game in team history.
A CT scan earlier in the day on Henrik Sedin’s foot came back clean and the Vancouver captain looked just fine when he flew in behind a Wild defender and gave the Canucks (34-15-5) a 3-1 lead early in the second period.
“After warmups, I wasn’t that good,” Sedin said. “But once the game starts you get the adrenaline going a little bit. It was good.”
The Sedin twins have scored 27 career goals and totalled 107 points against Minnesota, but Thursday was the first time both scored in the same game.
Henrik’s teammates enjoyed the offence he provided, but talked more about his willingness to play through pain.
“People talk about toughness, and toughness is a lot more than dropping the gloves,” wing Byron Bitz said. “Playing through injuries and things like that, that’s toughness.”
Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu returned after missing the previous eight games with a shoulder injury and centred a line with Heatley and Devin Setoguchi.
But Koivu’s return wasn’t enough to spark an offence that’s scored more than one goal just once in its last five games. The Wild rank 29th in the NHL in goals.
“We need to figure it out somehow, whether it’s putting more pucks to the net and shooting a lot more and trying to create traffic,” centre Kyle Brodziak said. “I think we just need to get back to scoring some dirtier goals and hopefully our confidence will come from there.”
Kesler’s goal was an empty-netter late in the third period.
Looking to get his team’s offence going, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault put the twins on separate lines Tuesday against Nashville. They were back together against Minnesota and now have combined for 113 points this season.
After Heatley’s quick goal, Daniel Sedin scored at 4:26 of the first with Vancouver on a 5-on-3 power play.
Lapierre made it 2-1 with 42 seconds left in the first. Henrik Sedin made it 3-1 just 50 seconds into the second.
The Wild, 3-4-1 without Koivu, went almost 20 minutes without a shot on goal to close the first period and start the second before the Koivu-Setoguchi-Heatley line got going again and gave Minnesota some life.
The Wild had a 20-17 advantage in shots when Malhotra tipped Kevin Bieksa’s wrist shot past Niklas Backstrom, causing the Wild goalie to look up in frustration.
“When it was time to be physical and be gritty, I thought our guys were physical and gritty,” Vigneault said.
Setoguchi scored his 11th goal at 4:02 of the third period.
Minnesota entered tied with Phoenix for eighth in the Western Conference. The win brought the Canucks within one point of idle Detroit for most in the NHL.
It was also the first time in seven games that the Canucks played in a game decided by more than one goal.
“It was great to get a regulation game and take some stress off a few people,” goalie Cory Schneider said. “Definitely the way we want to play.”
Schneider started in net for Vancouver. Regular goalie Roberto Luongo has shut out the Wild three straight times, all at home, but has lost three straight in Minnesota with a 7.00 goals-against average.
While Schneider was talking about finally winning by more than a goal, Yeo was preparing to put some of his players through a post-game workout.
“We’ll have to look at this carefully,” Yeo said. “What we do in practice and all the Xs and Os and all these things we talk about are completely irrelevant right now. If we don’t have complete desperation and urgency and willingness to pay the price—it’s what winners do—it’s going to lead to more disappointment.”
Notes: Lapierre, Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis were all given game misconducts with less than a minute to play. Cal Clutterbuck was given a misconduct for Minnesota. … The previous Minnesota record for fastest goal to start a game was 21 seconds by Matt Johnson on March 23, 2003, against Detroit. … Minnesota placed defenceman Clayton Stoner on the injured list with an unspecified leg injury. Yeo said Stoner’s status was week to week. … Canucks wing Dale Weise was scratched with a foot injury and defenceman Keith Ballard was scratched with a neck injury. … Calgary defenceman Jay Bouwmeester was at 559 consecutive games played entering Thursday.