The Vancouver Canucks played host to Northwest Division rivals the Minnesota Wild on Monday night a Rogers Arena. The Canucks playing their third and most important game of a four game home stand needing a win to maintain outright lead of the division. Roberto Luongo got his fourth straight start.
Returing to the lineup for the first time in four games was key defenceman Keith Ballard who lined up with Chris Tanev, also making a return after a stint in the AHL was Jordan Schroeder.
The first period was all about the goal tending for the Wild as Nicklas Backstrom came up with several key saves to keep the Canucks off the score sheet on two powerplays. With injuries to key attacking players the Canucks have struggled to score goals on the powerplay this season. What was once the most potent powerplay in the league was on its longest drought in 16 years. As the drought reached 0-for-36 up stepped captain Henrik Sedin who tapped in the rebound off a Jason Garrison blast.
But as the trend of Canucks games have gone in the last two weeks after taking the lead they faltered. The Wild were equal within five minutes despite being out shot 21-9 in the game, and 11-2 in the second period. Minnesota came back with the next seven shots to work their way back into the game and go into the final period tied.
It only took 3:20 before rookie Charlie Coyle deflected in the go ahead goal and once again Vancouver was chasing the game. The task was made just that bit harder six minutes later when Matt Cullen extended the lead to two with eleven minutes remaining. There was no comeback for Vancouver who fell behind Minnesota in the North West Divison race.
The Canucks will need to bounce back as they host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday evening at Rogers Arena.