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Wild score 3 power-play goals to beat Vancouver; Canucks' Rypien pushes fan

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Wild got the message.

Vancouver's Rick Rypien may be getting one from the league office.

Marek Zidlicky had a goal and two assists, and the Minnesota Wild scored three times on the power play to beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-2 Tuesday night.

Guillaume Latendresse, Cal Clutterbuck, John Madden, Andrew Brunette and Matt Cullen also scored for the Wild, who entered the game with the league's best power play at 38.1 per cent, and was 3 for 3 with the man advantage.

Daniel Sedin scored twice for Vancouver, which could see Rypien facing disciplinary action after pushing a fan.

Rypien and Minnesota's Brad Staubitz, who fought in the opening period, were about to square off in the second period before being separated by the linesmen in front of the Wild bench.

As Rypien, who was assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct, was pulled by linesman Don Henderson toward the Vancouver bench, he appeared to push the official.

On his way down the tunnel to the dressing room, Rypien pushed a Wild fan who was applauding at the railing. Rypien was quickly pulled away by teammate Manny Malhotra. The fan was removed from the area. Rypien was in the penalty box to start the third period, but did not get any ice time.

"We'll wait and see how the league views it," Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis said. "I'm sure there will be a hearing of some sort."

Rypien was not available for comment after the game, but Malhotra thought the fan "got a little bit too involved."

"There's boundaries that should never be crossed. We're in our area of work," he said. "We're all for the hooting and hollering and supporting your team and saying whatever is tasteful. But as soon as you cross that line and want to become physical with a player then we have to make sure we take care of ourselves. ... We have no idea of what their intentions are."

The dominating win was big for the Wild, who were subject to a gruelling practice Sunday by coach Todd Richards after a lacklustre performance in Saturday's 3-2 home loss to Columbus.

"Coming into the game I was curious as to what we were going to get, and the players, to me, made a statement and responded to the challenge we as coaches threw at them," Richards said.

Although, it didn't look good early when Sedin scored 58 seconds into the game, converting a cross-crease pass from Henrik Sedin, who spun around to deke a Wild defender.

"We just kept going. We knew we had a lot in us and could play good hockey," Clutterbuck said.

Minnesota scored twice in less than two minutes to take a 2-1 lead before the midpoint of the opening period.

Zidlicky tied the game on the power play at 6:04 when his slap shot from atop the left circle beat Roberto Luongo, who was screened by Brunette.

Latendresse charged in from the left side, and, after a big rebound off the end boards, his shot glanced off Luongo and trickled over the goal line at 7:20.

Luongo, who has allowed 14 goals in his past three starts this season, is 3-9-2 in Minnesota, his worst loss total in a visiting arena. He was replaced by Cory Schneider to start the third period.

"He was like the rest of our team. Everybody in that room starting with me could do a better job," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.

Clutterbuck scored his power-play goal late in the first period, tipping home a cross-crease pass from Latendresse, who executed a give-and-go with Martin Havlat entering the Vancouver end.

Eleven of Minnesota's 16 goals this season have come on the power play.

Madden and Brunette scored even-strength goals in the second for a 5-1 Wild lead, before a Cullen slap shot beat Luongo 8 seconds into a Minnesota power play after Rypien's incident.

"The whole team played well," Madden said. "It's not about individuals."

Sedin scored his second late in the third period.

Notes: The teams meet again Friday in Vancouver. ...Vigneault coached his 600th NHL game. His career record is 293-235 with 35 ties and 37 overtime losses. Now in his fifth season as Vancouver coach, he also coached Montreal for three-plus seasons from 1997-2000. ... Minnesota recalled LW Colton Gilles from AHL Houston, but he was a healthy scratch. ... Vancouver D Dan Hamhuis missed the game with a foot injury. He was replaced by Ryan Parent.


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