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Wild vs Canucks: Always a Good TIme

(Sports Network) - Marek Zidlicky posted a goal and two assists while Niklas Backstrom was strong with 25 saves, as the Minnesota Wild topped the Vancouver Canucks, 6-2, at Xcel Energy Center.

Matt Cullen and Guillaume Latendresse both added a goal and an assist for the Wild, who improved to 2-2-1 on the season. Andrew Brunette, Cal Clutterbuck and John Madden also scored in the victory.

Daniel Sedin scored both goals for the Canucks, who have lost three of their last four games and saw their 2010-11 record fall to 2-3-1. Vancouver will visit Chicago on Wednesday.

Roberto Luongo was shelled for all six goals on 18 shots and was pulled after two periods of play.

"Minnesota was the best team on the ice tonight," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. "They beat us in all areas of the game, from loose pucks to puck battles and obviously the power play. They deserved to win the game."

At the 7:20 mark, Latendresse's second goal of the season put Minnesota ahead 2-1. A shot by Cullen from the right point was saved by Luongo, but the rebound was not controlled. From the bottom of the left circle, Latendresse corralled the puck and beat Luongo with a wrister.

The Wild moved ahead by two goals with a power-play tally in the late stages of the first. With Mikael Samuelsson in the penalty box for a cross-checking minor, Latendresse held control along the goal line to the left of the net and passed the puck to the top of the crease, where Clutterbuck banged it into the back of the cage with 1:50 to play before the intermission.

Three more Minnesota goals in the middle stanza turned the contest into a rout. Madden's first goal gave the Wild a 4-1 lead at 7:54 -- he accepted a pass through the neutral zone, skated into the right slot, put the brakes on and fired home a wrist shot from the inner rim of the circle.

"We are a team that needs to compete on every shift in order to be competitive in this league," said Madden.

A nifty pass by Zidlicky led to Minnesota's fifth goal. Zidlicky skated with the puck down the right-wing side and went behind the net. From along the rear boards, Zidlikcy dealt a blind backhand pass between his skates to Brunette, whose one-timer snap shot from a sharp angle below the right circle deflected off Luongo and went in at the 12:21 mark.

Cullen's power-play one-timer from the right circle after a pass across the slot by Mikko Koivu flew into the back of the cage with 6:14 to play before the second intermission.

Sedin's power-play marker with 1:29 to go in regulation capped the scoring.

Sedin's fifth goal opened the scoring only 58 seconds after the opening faceoff, but Zidlicky tied it on the power play near the six-minute mark.

Game Notes

Vancouver's Rick Rypien was issued a misconduct in the second period and as he was leaving the bench for the dressing room, he grabbed a fan by the shirt and shook him. The fan was clapping and cheering Rypien's imminent departure directly in front of Rypien but did not make contact with Rypien nor did the fan reach beyond the security gate, yet was still ejected from the arena...The Wild converted all three of their power-play chances, while the Canucks were 1-for-6 with the extra skater...Cory Schneider stopped six shots in relief.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.