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Ohlund delivers go-ahead marker as Canucks tame Wild 6-2

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

VANCOUVER - Mattias Ohlund was both a hero and a villain Friday night.

Ohlund's first-period goal proved to be the winner as the Canucks thumped the Minnesota Wild 6-2, but the defenceman was also ejected late in the game after he received a major for slashing Minnesota centre Mikko Koivu across the legs.

Ohlund wasn't around to talk immediately afterwards, but coach Alain Vigneault and the rest of the Canucks still had plenty to say after a strong offensive showing against a Northwest Division rival that has a reputation for tight defence.

"We all know Minnesota's identity," said Vigneault. "I'm very happy the way we've been playing lately and happy the way we've been playing at home. Tonight, finally, got rewarded offensively a little bit here for all our hard work."

Taylor Pyatt, Markus Naslund, Daniel Sedin, Trevor Linden and Luc Bourdon, with his first career NHL goal, also scored for Vancouver as the Canucks (9-8-1) posted only their third win in 10 home games this season.

Vancouver's early goals provided some quick relief for the Canucks after they were shut out by the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

Rookie Aaron Voros, with his first NHL career goal, and Brent Burns replied for Minnesota (10-7-2). The Wild suffered its third loss in the past four road games.

The visitors struggled early and trailed 4-1 and 5-1 by periods.

Vancouver's early goals provided some quick relief after the Canucks were shut out 1-0 in a shootout loss to Edmonton on Wednesday. Friday's contest marked only the second time this season the Canucks have scored five goals in a game.

"It doesn't happen often, but it was fun," said centre Brendan Morrison, who assisted on two goals, including the winner, in the high-scoring affair before a sellout crowd of 18,630 at GM Place. "'The guys were going great tonight, moving the puck around well, and creating chances."

The Canucks capitalized on three of 10 power-play opportunities and outshot Minnesota 31-22 as they charged the net often. The Wild scored once in four man-advantage situations.

Ohlund gave Vancouver a 3-0 advantage on a power play at 11:59, making an offensive foray to put in Alex Burrows' rebound from close range.

After the goal, Backstrom replaced Harding in the Minnesota net. Harding allowed seven goals on 10 shots, but received little help from his teammates.

"We knew they were going to come up big, and they did," said Minnesota captain Brian Rolston. "They got up too fast and too quick, so we were fighting back for the rest of the game."

Ohlund whacked Koivu across the legs and was ejected with just over four minutes left in the game after the Minnesota centre had elbowed him in the head.

"Obviously, it was a pretty vicious slash," said Rolston. "I don't know what happened before that. Mikko (Koivu) got an elbowing penalty on the play, but it was a pretty vicious slash."

When asked if he felt a suspension to Ohlund was warranted, Vigneault said the league should look at Marian Gaborik's elbow on Ryan Kesler late in the second period, which also drew a penalty.

He said they are the types of head shots that the NHL is trying to prevent.

Koivu wasn't in the mood talk about the incident as he limped into the Wild dressing room afterward.

"I have no comment on that," said Koivu. "When the game is 6-2, you can't be happy with that."

His elbowing infraction set the stage for Bourdon's first NHL marker. He fired home Byron Ritchie's pass along the blue-line to close out the scoring as Vigneault experimented with his power-play unit.

"I've always been of the philosophy that if you're up by quite a few goals towards the end of the game, sticking it to the opposition is not my style," said Vigneault. "So it was just a matter of giving other guys an opportunity there."

NOTES-Canucks winger Brad Isbister played in his 500th NHL game. So did Vancouver centre Henrik Sedin, who recorded two assists. Isbister has played for five NHL clubs while Sedin has only suited up for the Canucks. Twin brother Daniel Sedin has four games to go to reach the half-century mark . . . The Wild had a goal disallowed one minute and 20 seconds later as on-ice and replay officials ruled Derek Boogard had knocked the puck in with a high stick. A replay showed his stick was well above the crossbar and his shoulders . . . Canucks winger Jeff Cowan returned to the lineup after missing 12 games because of a hip injury and one more Wednesday as a healthy scratch.


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