Wild Lose to Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Sven Baertschi is starting to get his groove back for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Swiss forward scored with 2:35 left in regulation Tuesday night to cap a combined five-goal outburst in the third period, lifting the Canucks to a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Baertschi, who had a goal and two assists in his last outing before missing consecutive road games with a foot injury, tipped a point shot from Troy Stecher to cap the scoring on a night Vancouver fall behind 2-0 and also blow a 4-2 lead.
"They played well right away, but we stuck with it," Baertschi said. "They got the two goals (in the third) which set us back a little bit, but consistency was key for us and it didn't really phase us."
Baertschi has been looking for consistency this season after having 15 goals and 13 assists in 69 games in his first full NHL season last year.. He didn't score his first goal until the 14th game this year, but has played better in recent weeks alongside linemates Bo Horvat and the rejuvenated Alexandre Burrows.
"The chemistry is coming along and we're starting to create more and more," said Baertschi, who has three goals and seven assists. "Pucks are going in as of late. That's a good sign."
Brandon Sutter and Ben Hutton each had a goal and an assist, and Horvat and Loui Eriksson also scored for Vancouver, which has won consecutive games for the first time since starting the season 4-0. Henrik Sedin and Stecher had two assists each and Ryan Miller stopped 38 shots.
Erik Haula scored the tying goal late in the third for Minnesota. Jason Pominville had two goals, Jason Zucker added a goal and an assist, and Nino Niederreiter had two assists. Darcy Kuemper got the start with Devan Dubnyk given the night off and finished with 30 saves.
Tied 2-2 through two periods, Eriksson gave Vancouver its first lead 1:09 into the third with his sixth of the season when he finished off a scramble after the Wild failed to clear the puck from their zone.
Horvat then tipped a shot past Kuemper for his team-leading eighth at 2:08 to give the Canucks a two-goal edge.
"Goals and tips, weird bounces," said Kuemper, who was making his fifth start. "It was not a fun one."
But the Wild struck right back when Zucker blocked Erik Gudbranson's point shot and moved in alone on Miller before beating the Vancouver goalie with a nice backhand deke at 3:20 for his third.
Kuemper then made a great stop on Eriksson off a feed from Markus Granlund just over a minute later to keep the Wild within one.
Haula rewarded his goalie by scoring his third on a tip of Ryan Suter's point shot with 5:49 left in regulation.
Trailing 2-0 midway through the second with just 10 shots on the night, the Canucks came to life on back-to-back power plays to tie it. Sutter tipped Stecher's blast from the point at 9:23 for his sixth before Hutton pinched down from the point on another man advantage just 1:59 later to roof a loose puck at the side of the net for his third.
Hutton's goal marked just the second time this season Vancouver's power play had connected twice in the same game, and the first since Oct. 22.
"I thought the power play was opportunistic," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "There are other nights we've had better power plays, but Stecher had a good point shot on one and Hutton did a good job coming down the backside."
Already without Christopher Tanev, who has been out with a lower-body injury since early November, the Canucks were missing the other half of their top defensive pairing after it was revealed Monday that Alexander Edler required surgery on a broken finger suffered in Saturday's shootout victory in Colorado.
With the youngest defense in the NHL as a result of Edler's injury, the Canucks knew they would have to play a simple, error-free game, but were instead exposed early in the first. Luca Sbisa, one of the veteran members of the current corps at age 26, misplayed a puck at the Vancouver blue line to allow Niederreiter to swoop in on Miller before Pominville was buried the rebound for his fourth into an open net at 5:07.
The Canucks thought they had tied it with 5:18 left in the period when Henrik Sedin scored what looked to be his sixth, but the call on the ice was overturned after Minnesota challenged that Sutter had interfered with Kuemper.
Pominville then made it 2-0 with his second of the game and fifth of the season on a shot off the rush at 3:24 of the second that beat Miller under the blocker.
NOTES: Edler is expected to be out four to six weeks. ... Henrik Sedin had two assists to give him 69 points (13 goals, 56 assists) in 81 career games against Minnesota. ... Wild D Jared Spurgeon celebrated his 27th birthday Tuesday.