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Minnesota Beats Vancouver in OT, 3-2 – Canucks Earn a Point

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Vancouver Canucks Bo Horvat
Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat celebrates the first goal of the game Thursday night in Minnesota.

Minnesota Wild 3, Vancouver Canucks 2  – Overtime

— The Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes in a shoot-out 4-3 and move four points ahead of Vancouver. The two teams go head-to-head Saturday night in Texas. The Canucks moved ahead of Winnipeg in the standings as the Jets lost at home to the Ottawa Senators, 5-2. —

Same line-up from Vancouver’s 3-1 victory in Denver on Wednesday night.

“We know what we’re capable of if everyone’s committed to doing the right things,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said pregame. “Tonight might be a little more difficult as a back-to-back with the travel and all, but we know what we have to do to win and we know how we have to play to win, so hopefully that was a great lesson yesterday and hopefully we can duplicate it tonight.”

Kirill the Thrill

If you haven’t had a chance to really pay a whole lot of attention to last season’s Calder Trophy winner as NHL rookie-of-the-year, you’ll want to pay attention to Kirill Kaprizov Thursday evening. He’s special.

Kaprizov led first year players in scoring last year with 51 points and is tied for 9th in overall NHL scoring this season with 76 points in 60 games. The winger brings a combination of quickness, strength, playmaking ability, and shooting touch.

He dropped to the 5th round in the 2015 NHL Draft because teams feared that he’d make them wait to come over from Russia if he came over at all. I recall covering Minnesota’s rookie camps and tournaments for four years starting in 2015 and kept hearing, “wait until you see Kaprizov”. We heard that annually.

Last year he finally left CSKA Moscow of the Russian KHL and the patient Wild are a happy bunch.

Our sidebar story from this game compares Kaprizov’s efforts to those of Elias Pettersson.

Goal Scorers

1st Period 1-0 Vancouver – Bo Horvat (25) – Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Brock Boeser (4:13) Even Strength

1st Period 1-1 Minnesota – Kirill Kaprizov (33) – Ryan Hartman, Mats Zuccarello (8:08) Even Strength

2nd Period 2-1 Minnesota – Kevin Fiala (21) – Unassisted (1:44) Even Strength

3rd Period 2-2 Vancouver – JT Miller (27) – Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson (7:56) Power Play

Overtime 3-2 – Minnesota – Joel Eriksson Ek (19) Kirill Kaprizov, Jonas Brodin (:31) Even Strength (3 on 3)

Special Teams

Entering this game the Vancouver Canucks actually had a better power play percentage than the Wild, 21.4% to 19.6, and Minnesota’s penalty kill isn’t that much better, 76.3%, than the Canucks NHL worst 71.6 The two teams give up the exact same number of shots per game at 31.8.

The Canucks PK did a hell of a job against the Avalanche on Wednesday, holding the lethal Colorado club to a 1 for 5 night. Vancouver received just one power play opportunity.

In Minnesota, matters were a bit more even. In fact, in the first period they cancelled out. Luke Schenn of the Canucks and Marcus Foligno of the Wild went off for fighting in the first minute and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of Vancouver and Jordan Greenway of Minnesota went off for roughing in the final minute.

2nd period, the Wild picked up the first power play of the game at the 10:36 mark when Vancouver’s Brad Richardson went off for roughing. (Minnesota defenceman Jon Merrill actually scored a goal during the delayed call but it was waived off after the play was deemed offside following review).

The Canucks killed the penalty. Vancouver would get its second period opportunity at the 16:24 mark when Mats Zuccarello went off for slashing. Pretty good movement and a couple of scoring chances for the Canucks but the Wild killed it.

In the third, Greenway shot a puck over the glass at 4:48 and the Canucks picked up their second power play. They had some entry issues. Minnesota killed it.

Not long after, Vancouver would get another opportunity at 7:50 when Zuccarello went off for high sticking. It only took six-seconds for JT Miller to score.

At this point it was predictable that the referees would try to even things up a little bit in terms of opportunities and they did. It’s just the way it is. Bo Horvat went off for cross checking at 9:24.

The Canucks killed it.

The Vancouver Canucks finished the game 1-for-3, the Minnesota Wild 0-for-2.

Protect the House

It seems like a little thing but it’s not. When the Canucks, not the most physical team in the NHL by any stretch, protect their area around their crease and goaltender and take exception to opposing encroachments into that area, you know they’re engaged. Again it’s a long 82-game season and it’s tough to be ornery every night, but you’ll notice the league’s heavy teams are consistently defiant.

The Canucks are a chippier team when they win. Or is it they win when they’re chippier? Bingo.

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Thatcher Demko – Plenty of grade-A scoring chances from Minnesota. The Wild outshot the Canucks 36-28.

2) Brock Boeser – Led the Canucks in shots on goal. Chipped in an assist.

1) Bo Horvat – Scored a goal for the third game in a row and for the 11th game in his last 14. Dominated in the face-off circle.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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