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Vancouver Canucks Playoff Dreams Dashed 6-3 in Minnesota

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Vancouver Canucks, Elias Pettersson
Elias Pettersson scores his 2nd goal of the game and 31st of the season for the Vancouver Canucks in their 6-3 loss to the Wild.

Minnesota Wild 6, Vancouver Canucks 3

The red hot Minnesota Wild were too much for the Vancouver Canucks as their relentless style finally led the home club to a three goal victory. It essentially puts Vancouver in an impossible situation in terms of making the NHL postseason.

Early on, the Canucks played a strong road game and proved early they’re capable of adjusting to any opponent and its strategy. The heavy, tight checking Wild make it difficult to move and are hefty on the forecheck, even without Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno in the line-up. Vancouver withstood the initial five-minute Wild wave in the first period and then took over the zones and the chances.

Brad Richardson took a high stick to the face late in the first period from Kirill Kaprizov and went down bleeding. He went to the dressing room, but did return for the 2nd period. Kaprizov went to the box for four minutes.

At that time, the Canucks had just taken a minor, so the teams played 4-on-4 for two-minutes over-lapping into the 2nd period with Vancouver ending up with a power play. No score after one.

The second period opened up and got a little zany with the amount of scoring. A six-goal second period ended tied up 3-3.

The Vancouver Canucks rope-a-doped in the third period, meaning they played a conservative, defensive game, looking to roll the clock and find an opportunity. They were forced to kill off two penalties along the way.

The rope-a-dope can backfire, and it did. Continuous pressure from the Wild resulted in a win for the home team.

“They (our guys) gave it everything they have,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said postgame. “Miller’s blocking a shot and has a couple of ice packs. Richardson breaks his nose and wants to play. They never quit. They could’ve given up a long time ago, the odds were against us, but they believe.”

Goaltenders:

Thatcher Demko vs. Cam Talbot

Shots finished 32-24 in favour of the Wild.

Goal Scorers

2nd Period 1-0 Minnesota – Kevin Fiala (31) – Freddie Gaudreau, Matt Boldy (4:53) Even Strength

((– A beautiful entry becomes a three-on-one as the Wild complete the execution to Fiala on the right wing with no chance for Demko.))

2nd Period 1-1 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (30) – Conor Garland, Brock Boeser (5:31) Even Strength

((– A perfect blind pass from below the goal line finds ‘Petey’ for a one timer in the high slot.))

2nd Period 2-1 Minnesota – Jared Spurgeon (10) – Brandon Duhaime, Jacob Middleton (7:10) Even Strength

((– Point wrist shot through a heavy screen, inside the near post, and Demko never saw it.))

2nd Period 2-2 Vancouver – Matthew Highmore (5) – Unassisted (9:22) Even Strength

((– Picked up a loose puck from Wild D-man Spurgeon who had fallen, and skated in and wristed one top shelf, short side.))

2nd Period 3-2 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (31) – Conor Garland, Travis Dermott (16:09) Even Strength

((– Went to the net and swatted in a rebound that came off Talbot’s left pad.))

2nd Period 3-3 Minnesota – Mats Zuccarello (23) – Kirill Kaprizov, Jon Merrill (18:36) Even Strength

((– A touch pass off an offensive zone criss-cross and “Zook” wrists one glove side past Demko.))

3rd Period 4-3 Minnesota – Kevin Fiala (32) – Jonas Brodin, Freddie Gaudreau (12:17) Even Strength

((– After circling the zone, Fiala cut to the front of the net and went short side on Demko from in close.))

3rd Period 5-3 Minnesota – Kirill Kaprizov (44) Ryan Hartman, Mats Zuccarello (18:05) Even Strength

((– Off pressure and a scramble, Kaprizov goes off-speed five-hole from the low slot.))

3rd Period 6-3 Minnesota – Ryan Hartman (32) Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello (18:57) Even Strength – Empty Netter

((– Pretty simple dagger.))

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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